There is a good reason why I will always allow enough time to listen to a patients story before I come up with a diagnosis or begin any treatment.
The reason for this is because often the true reason behind a persons pain can be found by listening to the patients story.
By getting a good understanding of the what happened in the days, weeks, months and even years before their problem came on, can tell so much about why they are now experiencing pain.
This includes finding out things such as any previous injuries they’ve had, what challenges or stressors they have in their day and what they have tried before to help that didn’t work.
When we piece a persons story together with an assessment then we can get a clear idea of what is happening and what needs to be done to give the patient the results and outcome they are looking for.
Why is all this important you may ask?
It is important because very often the area where the person is feeling pain is not going to be the true reason behind the pain. And if we are to only focus on treating the painful area, then the problem will keep coming back.
This is where finding the true stressor is key to getting long lasting results and it starts by listening to the persons story.
A true story
A few weeks ago I had a female patient come to the clinic with left knee and hip pain. Her knee pain had started one year ago and her hip pain had been there for about 8 months or so.
It wasn’t really affecting her doing her everyday activities but it had stopped her from running and more recently, from going to an exercise class in the gym because it was getting too sore and irritated.
She had been for an MRI that showed some wear and tear, had a steroid injection that didn’t work like she hoped and was told not to do any form of impact exercise as it will cause further damage and arthritis.
When I assessed her, I found that there was some restriction in her hip movement and while her knee movement was good, there was a weakness in the muscles behind her right knee.
She couldn’t think of any previous lower body injuries, had been attending her gym class for the last 5 years and nothing had really changed in her life in the last 18 months so I couldn’t figure out any reason for the pain starting…….. which was bothering me a little bit, as there nearly always is some trigger or reason behind a problem.
Anyways, I explained to her what needed to be done to get her back to her fitness class and outlined her treatment plan.
Ah Ha – The trigger
It was just as she was about to go out the door when she suddenly remembered a issue she had with her calf muscle about 6 years previously when strained it out running and said it went black and blue and had her hobbling around for 3 weeks.
She didn’t get it treated, just iced it and let it rest until the pain went away. It all made sense now why she was getting knee and hip pain.
Her bodies way of letting her calf heal at the time was to put more pressure elsewhere on her body and this turned into a ‘inefficient movement habit’ which had resulted in knee pain and hip pain 5 years later.
So, I will now be placing even more emphasis on ensuring her calf is strong enough to do its job, which will mean that her knee and her hip won’t have to work as hard when she returns to her fitness class…………………………….. meaning the chances of this problem re-occurring will be greatly reduced.
Putting the pieces together
At Midlands Physical Therapy we place a big emphasis on finding this true stressor or reason behind the pain so that we can help ensure long lasting results….. and allow the person to get back to enjoying the things that they love doing without the problem always getting in the way.
If you are struggling with a pain or injury that is not going away and you would like another opinion, then get in touch and we will be happy to help.
Simply click the form below and fill in a few details or call 09064 66761Speak to a physio first