When you have an ache or pain, it can leave you scratching your head as to where the pain is actually coming from. Just because it hurts in that part of your leg or arm, doesn’t mean that is where the problem originates. Is it a disc, muscle strain or did you just plain overdo it? If you are suffering from back pain or neck pain, here are some questions that can help you determine the origins of your pain.
How long have you had your pain?
For example, acute lower back or lumbar pain may be caused by a muscle strain. Chronic lower back pain is typical due to restricted joints, tight muscle tissue and muscle weakness. What is the pain like? Achy, sharp, tingly? Achy pain is typically a problem with movement due to poor functioning of the muscles and joints. Sharp pain can be caused by a muscle spasm or even an impingement of a joint. Tingling sensations and pain can be caused by irritation to a nerve, either from compression or inflammation of the specific area.
Is the pain worse at a specific time of day?
Achy, stiff pain in the morning can be due to muscle and tissue stiffness. Severe radiating pain to the lower back, buttock and leg with bending in the morning is an indicator of a potential herniated disc. Whereas pain toward the end of the day after moving and activity is an indicator of spinal muscle weakness as the muscles fatigue during the day.
Do you have difficulty with prolonged sitting, standing or walking?
Pain with prolonged standing and walking is typical of muscle fatigue of the spine as well as the hip muscles. It is typical to complain of pain in the lower back and buttocks, as your muscles cannot tolerate the activity. An easy test to check your hip strength is to lie on your side and lift your leg up 10 times. If you struggle with this, you most likely have hip muscle weakness. The good news is that with the right physical therapy treatment plan, you can alleviate these problem areas and prevent the pain from returning.
There is a lot that can be done to help pain, and the fastest way to relieve pain is to find out the source and treat it. At Mount Nittany Health Fit for Play, our therapists have years of medical training, specializing in muscles, joints and nerves, which helps them determine where your pain is coming from. With specialized hands-on therapy, structured medical exercises and modalities, we can relieve your pain, get you stronger and put you on the right path to return to the activities you love to do without pain.