Sunday, February 16, 2020

Do I Have A Pulled Muscle or Something Else?

Unless you’re gifted with extraordinary medical abilities, you probably can’t immediately tell the difference between a pulled muscles or something else. Hey, let’s face it, most people aren’t doctors. Not everyone can instinctively tell where their pains are coming from. And, if you’re reading this post, my guess is that you might be one the ones who struggle a little. The good news is, though, it’s absolutely normal not to know the cause of your pain; both people who suffer from sudden, fleeting pain, as well as those who experience ongoing, chronic pain, are often dumbfounded as to its cause. More often than not, though, people jump to the conclusion that they’ve pulled muscles. The effects of this type of ill-informed opinion can be life-changing, and that is why we’re about to expose the hidden answers behind what it means to have a pulled muscles, and whether or not something completely different might be going on.

What are pulled muscles, actually?

This is a good question, and it is the best place to start on your journey to discovering the true source of your pain. Remember, if you have an informed understanding of your ailment, you’ll be able to heal the source and permanently eradicated the pain. With that in mind, here is some information about what pulled muscles actually are and whether or not you have one of them, or, something completely different:

1.      Pulled muscles are muscles which are forcibly stretched and pulled beyond their capabilities. In other words, a pulled muscle is the result of a forceful movement exerted on that muscle. Take an elastic band as an example: as the band is stretched beyond its elastic means, it will eventually knot up or snap. This is exactly what happens to a muscle under the same conditions; a pulled muscle is the painful result of forced overextension.

2.      Alright, so how do you damage your muscles in this way? The most common activities leading up to pulled muscles include overuse, improper form during workouts, a failure to warm up and down before and after exercise, and skipping over stretching routines. Muscles need to be primed for exercise, and if this crucial step is neglected, they tend to be less flexible and more prone to damage and pain.

3.      That’s all good and well, but how can you then tell if you pulled a muscle or if you’ve done something else? Well, the biggest distinction between a pulled muscle and a different source of pain is the fact that your flexibility is limited after you hurt yourself. Essentially, this means you struggle to bend, stretch, or generally move the muscle. The muscle is tight and sore. In addition, you may experience swelling in the pulled area. You’ll most likely also experience stiffness and weakness in the muscle following the damage and, eventually, (if you don’t receive treatment for the correct diagnosis) you’ll become ‘knotted up’ in the area around the muscle as a greater amount of muscular tissue succumbs to stiffness and overuse.

Here’s the problem, though: you may be experiencing all this and yet you’re still unsure whether you have a pulled muscle, or something else like, for example, a structural issue or pinched nerve.

Luckily, there is a way to tell. Pinched nerves, in particular, effect different areas of the body and produce different sensations. Take a look:

What is a pinched nerve?

1.      Unlike a pulled muscle, a pinched nerve occurs when the body tissue around a nerve applies too much pressure to it. In other words, a pinched nerve has nothing to do with stretching or pulling: it is, in fact, the restriction of the nerve by its surrounding tissues and muscles. Let’s use another metaphor: a garden hose. Running through the garden hose is water vital for the plants in the garden. In the same way, your nerves carry vital information about the condition of your body to your brain. Let’s take it a step further: when the garden hose bends or is pinched, the water runs out and the plants suffer. Similarly, when the tissues around a nerve impede its ability to function correctly, the body is effected and you feel pain.

2.      Now, you may be thinking, ‘sure, but how is this pain different from a pulled muscle?’ First of all, the origin of the pain is different: discomfort from a pulled nerve is traced back to the nerves themselves, all of which are found inside the cartilage, tendons, bones, and muscles of the body. It is not the muscle which is sore, it is the actual nerve. Furthermore, the symptoms of a pulled nerve are different from pulled muscles, in that one may experience tingling, numbness, sudden bouts of weakness, burning sensations, and an increase of discomfort when trying to sleep.

Both pulled muscles and pinched nerves are painful; they both decrease mobility and increase suffering, yet it is absolutely vital to understand that these two problems are treated very differently. The biggest mistake most people make is that they muddle the two, thereby exacerbating the pain and prolonging the healing process.

The thing is, if your discomfort goes untreated – or is treated incorrectly – you risk prolonged bed rest, extended periods off of work, a decrease in activity and mobility, weight gain, muscle weakness, and daily, extreme discomfort.  None of these sound particularly appealing and, if you’re reading this, it’s most likely that you’ve already experienced one or more of these results. It’s time to take action.

So, if you’re unsure why you are experiencing pain, you feel as though you’re not getting any better, or you’re at the end of your tether when it comes to finding the right kind of help, then we invite you to give us a call, right now. Physical therapy offers you the chance to find and heal the true cause of your pain, thereby allowing you to access the pain-free life you deserve. Why not try it today? Click the button below to speak to a specialist, right now. We look forward to hearing from you.

Am I Injured? The Confusing Truth About Pain

Am I Injured? The Confusing Truth About Pain.

Most of us like to think we know ourselves fairly well – we know we’re happy when the sun is shining, when we drink a good cup of coffee, or when we spend time with our loved ones. On the other hand, we also know when we’re sad: we may have lost our favorite sneakers, hit a pothole, or experienced emotional trauma. All of that seems, in many ways, quite clear to us. But when it comes to physical injuries things can get a bit confusing. How do we know of we have neck pain, shoulder, or back pain? How do we know if our knees, hips, or lower backs are giving us problems? How can we differentiate between different types of pain? It often seems as if it’s harder to self-diagnose physical pain than it is to pinpoint heartache or joy. And yet, knowing why you’re in pain is actually the most invaluable knowledge there is for treating the root cause of the problem and, therefore, eradicating the pain itself. In this post, then, we’re talking about how injuries can be confusing, how we can tell if we’re really injured – and where we’re injured – and how we can clear it all up once and for all! Let’s jump straight in.

As we said, getting to the bottom of your pain is key in relieving it – treating your elbow, for example, may do no good if it is actually your wrist giving you the trouble. And just to make things even more confusing, your pain might not even point to an injury in the first place! That’s right! Oftentimes, we may experience pain that is fleeting and that disappears on its own. Therefore, understanding the difference between a once-off pain and a chronic, debilitating type of pain is absolutely crucial. Why? Well, if you don’t attention to the pain and it actually points to an injury, then you might end up exacerbating the pain, and damage, even more. Ultimately, we need to find out if the reason for pain is a fleeting injury or not. After this, it’s time to treat it appropriately. Let’s start with the first point: knowing the difference between injury and temporary pain.

When it comes to pain, listening to your body is the first port of call. Your body is a sophisticated organism – its ability to signal injury in the form or discomfort and pain cannot be underestimated. Sensation is like your body’s language, and pain, therefore, is like a warning which signals a problem. If we listen carefully enough, our bodies will inform us of our ailments. So, when it comes to knowing if we’re injured or not, we have to listen. Look out for any signs of injury: swelling, discoloration, temperature spikes – trouble walking, placing pressure on the area, or sensitivity to touch are all indicators that something is wrong. A tip for you: if you suspect that you’ve been injured, apply heat/ice immediately. More often than not, inflammation accompanies pain – heat and ice are able to alleviate the discomfort and swelling.  Be sure to be smart, though: if you feel pain for long durations of time, something is definitely wrong. Don’t make the mistake of believing your pain will disappear on its own; listen to your body and make a decision to get the right kind of help.

Once you’ve listened to your body and have understood that you’re injured, it’s time to figure out exactly what type of injury you’ve sustained. Establishing if you’ve pulled, strained, or torn a muscle can, at times, be as difficult as solving a Rubix cube… it can be incredibly challenging. One way to get to the bottom of it all is to analyze the types of activities you’ve done – Crossfit can give rise to different injuries than Yoga may, for example. This is, however, an inexact science, as injuries vary wildly at times. It is one way of trying to pin-point your injury, though. At the end of the day, however, it’s always best to see a professional physical therapist in order to establish the exact cause and forthcoming treatment needed.

Visiting a professional, hands-on physical therapist is by far the safest, fastest, and most effective way of both diagnosing and treating the root cause of your pain. Not only will a physical therapist relieve the discomfort, but will give you the tools to maintain a pain-free life. Tailor-made exercises will accompany treatment that will hone in on your specific injury – all this means that the confusion you’ve experienced is eliminated and that you’re able to get back to the activities you love.

At the end of the day, understanding injuries and pain can be tricky. It may seem impossible to identify either the cause of the pain or its location, but one thing is certain: it cannot be ignored. Listen to your body and make a decision to get the help you need. Take action. Analyze your activities, stop doing those that you think may be detrimental, and get professional help.

If you’re unsure of why you’re in pain, where you’re in pain, or if even if you’ve injured yourself during an activity you love, then we invite you to contact us today. We’re here to help you, and one of our dedicated, professional physical therapists are here to answer any and all questions you might have. Don’t live with the uncertainty of confusing pain any longer – get the answers you need and let us help you get back to the life you deserve: one that is pain-free and mobile. We look forward to chatting and helping you on your path back to health and mobility.