Hidden Pain

Ever suffered with pain that you just could not resolve, no matter how many exercises you do or how long you spend resting or stretching, regardless of every conventional and non-conventional treatment available?

Man Rubbing His Shoulder Muscle

The thing is, when chronic pain has so far resisted all manner of treatments, it can sometimes be that so far the focus has been on the point of pain, which can often be the symptom rather than the cause.

Now I could get all holistic on you here and start talking about emotional content and cause of pain, stress at work or how you sit at your desk or on your sofa.. and in other articles I WILL do just this.  - But today I want to talk to you about hidden pain.

For example - Pain that you feel in your shoulder that is being caused ultimately by a problem in your back, or your forearm, or many other places than the area you feel it is coming from.

Let's start by changing the way we describe pain. We all so often point to a painful area and say.

'That's where the pain is coming from' - when what we should actually say is 'That is where I feel the pain'

A small difference perhaps, but significant when thought about, because if all treatment is focused on the sore area - it might get sorer - it might not be the area that needs attention.  If the latter is true, then the pain will keep coming back again and again until the cause is resolved.

I recently had a client with a sore shoulder joint. Initially treatment for this is to release all the muscles involved in rotation of the arm, plus the muscles of the arm to achieve maximum range of movement.

The problem recurred without any undue stress on the arm, and there was no evidence of repetitive strain. In such cases it is pointless to repeat the same approach over again, this is when it is necessary to look a bit deeper.

In this particular case - one that is actually quite common, the serratus anterior had adhesions in the upper most sections of the muscle.

For those of you who don't know, the serratus anterior is a muscle that originates on the anterior of every rib and inserts on the inside of the shoulder blade. It appears as a series of single muscles wrapping around the ribcage.

The ribcage of course extends all the way up to the neck and the uppermost section of the serratus anterior can be found underlying the trapezius - the large kite shaped muscle of the upper back.

If there is an adhesion* in this part of the muscle, it can cause pain and stiffness in the shoulder capsule, pain in the neck and shoulders, it can even contribute to headaches.

But you might never know it is there, one has to know the body really well and be quite deft of hand to locate it and isn't the area that feels like it is hurting, so..

The serratus anterior, like many troublesome muscles in the body is deep, the superficial layers must be worked through before contact can be made.

I have also known the deeper muscles of the calves and thighs to cause problems, which unless isolated and released will simply persist in weakened and painful legs.

If you are suffering from chronic pain that just doesn't seem to want to be resolved, consider whether your pain is where it is coming from rather than where you feel it.  I can promise that 9 out of 10 people reading this article will actually be experiencing the latter - which means, when you ice, or apply heat, or add topical balms you may be soothing the symptom, but the problem will remain hidden and unchecked!!

Don't put up with pain - chronic pain isn't mysterious or without cause, it is simply hiding!.

*Adhesions are also incorrectly referred to as 'knots' in the muscle - while they feel like 'knots' they are actually areas of muscular scar tissue often caused by friction or injury.  They are created when the muscle is damaged and heals by secreting a glue-like substance, literally sticking fibres back together. A more helpful common term would be 'stickies'.

Posted in Body, Sports and other Physical Injuries.