Stretching: The Solution to Muscle Pain… or Is It?

Do you have tight, stiff, or painful muscles? You obviously need to stretch more, right?

If something is tight, stiff or painful, we immediately assume it needs to be stretched. Stretching may provide temporary relief for some, but the majority of people do not get results. Unfortunately, stretching is not the answer to all of your problems. In this article, we will talk about two of the major contributors to your tight, stiff, and painful muscles. Read more

Sport Injuries: Consequences of Pushing Through the Pain

An article from the New York Times titled, “Sport Injures: When to Tough It Out“, recently caught my attention.  The main point of the article was to answer the question of whether you should go to the doctor or tough it out?  A quote from one of the doctors in the article is below:

“I think most folks should not go (to the doctors), because most general doctors don’t know a lot about running injuries,” he said, adding, “Most docs, often even the good sports docs, then will just tell you to stop running anyway, so the first thing is to stop running yourself.”

This quote brings about two very important points.

1. Your primary care physician, emergency room physician, and urgent care physician do not have a reason to know a lot about overuse injuries.  Most of the time they will prescribe rest, anti-inflammatories, ice and/or muscle relaxors. This will cover up the pain so you feel better but it will not fix the problem and most likely you will experience similar symptoms down the road.

2.  I do not like the advice to stop running or stop doing whatever activity aggravates your condition.  This may be good advice at first because it will allow your body to recover and reduce the pain but it didn’t fix the problem.  There is a reason why you have shin, hip or knee pain with running.  I recommend that you try to figure out why you are experiencing the pain.

I believe if you are experiencing any joint pain with activity then your first step should be a chiropractor that specializes in soft tissue treatment.  In my office,  screening procedures and motion assessments are used to diagnose the source of the pain.

It is impossible to write an article that would cover every scenario of when to see a doctor and when to tough it out. It is a good idea to have any pain checked out but below are some general guidelines of when to go see a chiropractor:

  • Shin pain-if you push through it, it can progress to stress fractures
  • Elbow pain (tennis or golfers elbow)-left untreated it can progress to tendinosis which is degeneration of the tendon.
  • Achilles tendon pain-can lead to degeneration of the tendon and possibly rupture.
  • Heel pain/ plantar fasciitis-pushing through this will lead to further degeneration of the tissue causing pain even with sitting.
  • IT band tendonitis-will cause chronic knee pain but the problem is usually at the hip.
  • Pain in the same area with activity that gets better with rest but returns once you start the activity again.

If you get a random ache in a joint that only last a few minutes, then this is most likely not a reason to go see a doctor.  Aches that increase in duration and frequency should be checked out.

If you are experiencing pain, then feel free to email a general outline of your symptoms to me.  Then I can help you determine what your next step should be.

No pain, no gain…..right?

Have you ever heard the saying, no pain, no gain?  This saying can be a good thing or a really bad thing.  For example, if a triathlete starts swimming after a long break, it is probably going to be a painful experience.  It’s hard to get oxygen, your arms are sore, and you are trying your hardest not to let your legs become a 60 pound anchor.  At first you have to push through the pain, and eventually it becomes easier. Pain in this case is a part of becoming better, stronger, and faster.  If that same triathlete has shoulder pain on his right side during the recovery portion of his stroke, then that’s a different story.  This is bad pain and indicates that the joint is not working correctly.  This pain would most likely be caused from adhesion in the rotator cuff muscles.  This will cause the joint to move incorrectly and create pain in the shoulder and down the arm.  Bad pain is your body’s way of saying STOP.  If you try to work though the pain and take anti-inflammatory medicine, it will only get worse.  The medicine will allow you to continue to move the joint wrong until something tears.  I like the saying, “No GOOD pain, no gain”.   If you are unsure if your pain is good or bad, please schedule an exam to find out.

Can you really “work through” the pain?

The short answer is maybe, but eventually it will catch up with you.  I have many patients that come in and say they can usually work through the pain but this time it will not go away.  This response indicates to me that they never actually worked through the pain.  Their body compensated by loading up another area.  Eventually there will be no other areas to compensate to and pain will result.  Most of my patients are between the ages of 30-55.  This is the common age range when the body runs out of areas to compensate to.  One of the most common under diagnosed sources of pain is muscle adhesion.  If you have a nagging injury that will not go away or you have been “working through” the pain, please call our office to schedule an exam.  This way you will know if adhesion is at the root of your pain.

Can foam rolling remove adhesion?

Foam rolling is a great way to warm up before exercise, but it will never remove adhesion.

I am a big fan of foam rolling as a warm up.  It will warm up the tissue and prepare it for exercise.  However, I would never use a foam roll as a method of relieving pain.  If you are experiencing pain, you should be evaluated by a professional.  Most likely you have adhesion build up in your muscles.  Adhesions can alter the way the joint moves which leads to pain.  You can think of it as pouring glue into a muscle.  The muscle won’t stretch or contract like it should.  The only way to get rid of adhesion is through treatment from a certified provider specializing in  MAR, and IAR, and ART.

If you are experiencing pain or stiffness, click the button below so we can determine the cause.

Part 3: How to diagnose and treat adhesion?

Part 3 of 3: Click here for part 1 and part 2

After understanding how adhesion forms and what it can lead to, we can now focus on how to treat and reduce adhesion.  Adhesions are diagnosed and treated by a skilled certified provider.  Adhesions can’t be broken down by foam rolling or massage. There are two main methods of achieving this goal:

1.     Manually (Dr. uses hands)-MAR (Manual Adhesion Release) and ART (Active Release Techniques)

2.     Instruments—The newest instrument on the market today is the Instrument Adhesion Release (IAR).

The key to breaking down adhesion in a muscle is finding it. This may seem very obvious but adhesion is very common and finding the relevant adhesion takes years of training. Once the proper diagnosis is made, treatment can begin.  MAR and ART take advantage of the different attachment points of muscles to achieve maximum tension on the adhesion. These techniques are non-invasive and done exclusively through a skilled doctor’s hands.  Once the adhesions are broken down over a series of visits, the muscles can function normally again.  They can lengthen and contract with the appropriate force to allow for normal joint motion resulting in less pain for you.

If you have pain or stiffness, get the proper diagnosis first by clicking the button below.

Part 2: How can adhesion lead to pain?

Part 2 of 3: click here for part 1

In part one, we covered how adhesions form, but how can adhesion lead to all of the following problems?

  • Neck pain
  • Low back pain
  • Disc injuries
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfers elbow
  • Headaches
  • Plantar Fasciitis

Adhesions can create abnormal movement of a joint resulting in pain. The easiest way to visualize this is to look at the shoulder joint. Read more

What are adhesions and how are they limiting you?

This will be a three part series that will explain everything you need to know about adhesion.

Part 1: How does adhesion form?

Part 2: How can adhesion lead to the pain that I have?

Part 3: How does MAR and ART break down adhesion?

So let’s start off with:

Part 1: How does adhesion form?

There are two main pathways for adhesion formation:

  1. Acute conditions, such as pulls and tears.  This requires actual trauma and the body repairs the damaged tissue with adhesions. This is more commonly called scar tissue.
  2. Hypoxia (low oxygen) pathway is the most common generator of adhesion in muscle.  This will occur without you knowing it and can occur from repetitive motions or from standing or sitting in sustained postures. If a muscle doesn’t get adequate oxygen it will trigger adhesion formation.

An example of the hypoxic pathway occurs while you work at your computer. Typing results in continuous contraction of the forearm muscles (controlling your fingers) and can cause a low oxygen environment in those muscles. This will trigger fibroblasts to form muscle adhesions.  Muscle adhesions can overload the the attachment point of the muscles on the outside of the elbow and causes elbow pain (this will make more sense after reading part 2).  This is commonly called lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow.  Tennis players abuse the forearm muscles as well, especially during backhand movements and can trigger adhesion formation as well.

Who would have thought that these two activities could lead to the same problem?

Part 2: How can adhesion lead to pain?

Part 3: How to diagnose and treat adhesion?