The pain you are experiencing may NOT be coming from the specific area where it hurts! WHAT???? Yep – that’s right – pain travels along nerve pathways and has a predictable pattern. This is known in physical medicine as referred pain. The pain is a symptom of a problem – I think we all can agree to that, however, the root cause may be something, somewhere totally different.
Let’s say your wrist is experiencing pain. You get an X-Ray and an MRI – and low and behold there’s no issue there. A holistic practitioner will inspect every muscle and joint from the fingers to the neck, following the nerve to its root. The problem may be caused by tight muscles in the forearm, around the elbow joint, in the upper arm region, in any of the shoulder muscles – both in front and in the blade area, in any of the muscles in the side and up the back of your neck. You may be surprised to learn that what you suspected as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is actually tight muscles anywhere along the chain I just mentioned. As a matter of fact, nearly 80% of Carpal Tunnel symptoms are caused by other muscles being tight and having a death grip on the nerve supplying the wrist, making surgery unnecessary.
Your body is not compartmentalized. All soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, lymph vessels, etc,) is connected. You’ve undoubtedly heard of the song “The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone, the leg bone’s connected to the knee bone, ….” (OK – I’ll stop!). Additionally, you are only as strong as your weakest part. So when you put physical stress on your body, if overloaded, it will hurt and maybe break at the weakest point. Adding to the complexity of our understanding of our marvelously designed body, all living life forms have a spiral twist to them. The spiral design allows for a great deal of stress and strain before the structure breaks. Consider the strength of twine. Individual fibers are thin and can shred easily if pulled in a straight line. However, when twisted and bundled with other thin fibers, the twine becomes very strong. Individual fibers may shred, but the entire structure continues to hold under the load. Let’s examine a muscle in terms of the twine analogy since muscles are thin fibers bundled together to perform a function. Picture a tent pole, held securely by two lines. There’s enough tension on each of the twines to allow the pole to stand upright. Someone comes along and adds pressure to the twine on the left. The pole leans to the left and the right side gets extra tension added. Let’s say you add more pressure to the twine on the left – and you keep doing that until SNAP! The twine on the right breaks. Was the problem on the right or left? The left, of course. Same with our bodies.
The next time you experience some discomfort or pain, I urge to consult a holistic practitioner who will search for and address the root cause. While it might be tedious and time consuming now, it may actually save you healing time and pain in the long run!