When is pain worth getting checked out?
If you’ve spent some time working out, you’re probably familiar with that feeling of being sore as hell for a day or two after a particularly intense workout. You’ve also probably experienced some sort of ache or pain that didn’t quite sit well at the time and took longer than a few days to clear up.
We’ve talked before about the way your body moves changing after pain and/or injury. Research shows that “motor control” deficits are apparent in people months and years after painful episodes and long after the pain has actually subsided. It is shown that your core muscles can be delayed long after ankle sprains, shoulder pain, and back pain.
So, back to the original question. When is pain worth getting checked out? We know what the soreness feeling feels like after a tough workout. In severe cases of it, it can definitely put your desire to move on hold but for our purpose now, lets assume that it feels like a tight, dull, soreness. here is a list of questions:
Did you have an injury or an episode which brought about your pain?
Is your pain severe and sharp?
Does that sharp pain come on with a specific movement?
Have you had your pain for more than 5 days?
Do you have any numbness or tingling?
Are any of your normal activities affected by the pain that you have?
If any of these questions are answered yes, than it is probably a good idea to get your PT to have your pains checked out. What is the worst case scenario? The pain is something that you may want to get checked out further by a physician and have an XRay or MRI taken. Of note, research shows that Physical Therapists are also better at diagnostics than your family care physician and any physician who isn’t an ortho/sports specialist. Your family care physician just happens to be your barrier to imaging. Your physician IS NOT your barrier to being seen by a PT.
In the past 20-30 years, physical therapists have moved from a passive modality type of mindset (ice, heat, estim, ultrasound) to much more of a movement based mind set. It’s not to say that those treatments don’t offer some benefit , I just don’t see enough change in your poor movement patterns after icing or heating your shoulder for 10 minutes, doing ultrasound for 8 minutes, or estim’ing your body after a session. Those who have the means and extra time, or you do your sport professionally and you can spend “16 hours a day rehabbing” than go for it. Those athletes spend much of that time on passive modalities. Those athletes also make a minimum of 500k and up to 20+ million dollars per year and their career path depends on their doing everything imaginable to help speed things along, including deer antler spray. Physical therapy or in depth performance training isn’t a one time visit and you’re cured type of thing. A lot of people feel better after 1 or 2 visits, however takes time and effort on your part to maximize the result.
At Advantage, we use a movement based approach, hands on therapy designed to improve the way you move and feel and getting your life back on track sooner rather than later.
So ask yourself, is your pain worth getting checked out?