In the case studies section you will find several examples of problems just starting to rear their heads in terms of generating pain. In some instances there is no report of pain or injury yet, but the individual is on the way to becoming afflicted with a musculoskeletal issue without the proper intervention taking place. Looking at these pictures it is self evident that problems are going to be experienced in the future; maybe during childhood or when an adult. I have examples of impending lower back, shoulder, and knee issues. Please read below to get an understanding of how injuries and pain conditions can manifest.
Little Things Can Create Big Problems
When it comes to the body, seemingly small and insignificant actions or movements become significant after enough repetitions or exposures, especially when layered on top of an already existing physical dysfunction. Consider this: A light tap on your forehead with your index finger is painless. But if you tap the same spot over and over it would become irritating and unbearable. Now apply the same principle to your musculoskeletal system. The knee makes a great example. Non-contact ACL injuries occur because the ACL has received a little bit of stress during every activity or workout. This stress accumulated until the ligament finally ruptured. In other words, it’s rare that a perfect ACL suddenly ruptures. You don't go from 100% healthy to 0% in a non-contact injury situation. Chronic pain and injury is almost always the end result of a long, slow process.
When you start noticing the problem, the issue may have already evolved to be quite significant. Unfortunately, we often get – or start listening to – the message too late.
Sometimes the brain (cerebellum) figures out a compensation plan to minimize stressing or loading the offended tissue, and the pain lessens. Problem is, your cerebellum can only figure out so many compensation plans before the options run out or you suffer permanent damage such as a torn ACL or a worn out cartilage.
The compensating areas often complain first (or loudest). The lower back is a good example. It’s very common for the lower back to compensate for another compromised area – until it develops it’s own problems such as deteriorating discs, irritated facet joints, overworked spinal muscles or narrowing of the spaces from which the nerves exit. You may find symptomatic relief from lower back treatment, but a long-term fix means identifying the original source of the problem (which the lower back compensated for in the first place). This explains why so many people still suffer pain after back surgery. In many cases, the surgery merely addressed symptoms caused by an entirely different problem.