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Most common causes of pain.

This is a brief summary of the most common reasons for pain, and the explanation of why it happens.

Neck, shoulder pain and headaches:

Most neck, shoulder pain and headaches are a result of:

1-      Using too many pillows under your head.

This elevates your head and holds it in a forward position. The muscles in the front and sides of your neck are held in a contracted position, while over stretching the ones in the back of the neck, and upper back. This will eventually cause tight hard muscles, and lack of blood flow in the over stretched neck and back muscles. The muscles in the front and sides of the neck will go into spasm. This causing centralized pain and active referring trigger point pain into the head, (causing headaches) in the shoulder and down into the arm and sometimes fingers.    

2-      Looking down with your arms held in front of your body for long periods of time.

(Anyone who works on a computer, hair dressers, teachers, students, doctors, etc. all do this daily.)

This does the same as above, but by holding the arms in front of the body it is now involving your rotator cuff muscles. This will cause spasm in the muscles in the front of the shoulder and over stretch the ones in the back, activating more trigger points and causing further pain in more areas. (Esp. in the neck, shoulders and down into the arm.)        

3-      Lying on your side while sleeping.

This does the same as above because of the forward positioning of the shoulder for prolonged periods of time.

4-      Holding your head in one position for extended periods of time,

Or repetitive head repositioning. (Example: turning your head to the left or right constantly all day) This also causes spasm in the over worked muscles(mostly the ones on the sides) activating trigger points which will causes radiating pain into the head, down into the shoulder and the arm.  

Most low back, hip and sciatic pain is a result of:

1-      For men, this is sitting with a wallet in there back pocket.

This causes the hips to become rotated, which induces spasm in the low back muscles on the opposite side of the wallet. This will also cause problems in the hip rotators, especially the side where the wallet is. This being, because of the way you walk with rotated hips, and because the muscles are and have been over stretched for a long period of time. The muscles staying overstretched cause lack of blood flow, therefore, if the muscles are left like this for a prolonged period of time the active trigger points in theses muscles will cause radiating pain down into the hip, gluts, and or down into the leg.(often imitating sciatic pain.) Women will experience the same problems from sitting on one foot regularly.

2-Laying on your side without a pillow between your knees/ legs.

 This causes the same hip rotation with similar symptoms.

3-Locking your knees when you stand, especially for prolonged periods of time.

Stand sideways in a mirror and watch what happens to your body when you do this.

You will notice that it will push your stomach forward and puts an arch in your low back. This will compress your lumbar spine (esp.L5, S1) causing spasm and chronic pain in that area.  By having that extra weight in the front of your body, you will also cause the low back muscles to have to work overtime stabilizing your structure.

4-Sitting, squatting or bending at the waist for prolonged periods of time.

Yes, this is a very common problem. You have a muscle that runs along the inside

Of your body that connects the front of your hips to your low back. When you are seated it is shortened, when you stand it is lengthened.  Therefore, when you try to stand after sitting for a long period of time, the muscle will eventually go into spasm. This is because the muscle remembers the seated (contracted) position and eventually wants to stay that way. Where that muscle inserts into the lumbar spine is where and what causes the low back pain that you feel   

The bottom line is that muscles have memory. Therefore when you hold any position for a prolonged period of time, or do a movement in a repetitive pattern, the muscle is going to remember that position and or that pattern and want to stay there. When you attempt to achieve a somewhat normal position the muscle then goes into spasm because that position is not the one you have re- trained the muscle to be in. Thus, causing extreme pain and active trigger points, because a muscle in spasm is not receiving proper blood flow.  Clinical/ Neuromuscular re-education will re- train the muscle to remember what normal function is again. Releasing the spasm tissue and active trigger points will then relieve pain because of increased blood flow to the tissue.

We will usually always give exercises and stretches to our patients as homework so that they can continue to re- educate the tissue for more sustained results.