Pain is simply the body’s way of telling you that something is not right. Pain can be caused by damage or stress to any one of the tissues within the body, such as bone, muscle, ligament, tendon etc.
For example, if you strain a muscle by over stretching it or overloading the muscle with too much force, it will cause the fibres of the muscle to tear. Imagine a rope under a microscope. Now imagine that rope being put under tension. Some of those fibres in the rope may start to break and fray. That is what happens to the muscle tissue.
When it comes to treating the injured tissue, we know that there are many ways of doing this. Early management may consist of RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), massage, stretches, resistance work etc. However, what makes a really good rehabilitation programme is one that looks to correct the cause of the injury and not one that just treats the symptoms.
For example, if you bend down to pick something up and get pain in your lower back, you may strain a muscle. This can be treated by physiotherapy and the methods outlined above to help you recover. However, if you have other tight muscles in the back of your legs for instance that have restricted how you move, you may need to try and bend more through the lower back in order to get to the ground and pick that object up, putting increased strain in the low back. This is the cause of the problem! The fact that you are restricted in other areas of the body, increases the demand of other areas.
An example of different methods of bending is seen in the picture below:
Picture A demonstrates adequate movement through the hips and low back. Picture B shows limited hip movement causing the low back to bend more and placing more demand upon the back musculature and discs. Picture C shows limited bend through the back and compensated by more movement through the hips. Pictures B and C are poor movement patterns, are more likely to get injured or experience recurrent injury due to the increased demand placed upon the tissue structures and could be corrected with rehabilitation.
Therefore, if you have recurrent injury, the cause of your problem may lie elsewhere in the body. It is up to your physiotherapist to determine what the cause of the problem is, and to help you rehabilitate the body to decrease the stress and demand on your injured tissue. If you would like to discuss this further, please get in touch to see how Fairway.Physio can help you.