Anatomy of Muscle & Joint Pain
Our nervous system controls and coordinates all functions within the body, right down to the cellular level. For the nervous system to maintain its optimum level of function, it depends on activation/stimulation as much as it depends on oxygen and nutrients
The vast majority of this stimulation/activation comes from feedback from nerve receptors in our muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons that are only activated by movement. If there is a lack of movement in even a small region of the body, such as a joint in the arm or leg, there will be a subsequent decrease in the amount of sensory feedback to the brain from that region
The closer the fixated joint or muscle is to the midline of the body (the spine), the greater the detrimental impact on the nervous system (in terms of loss of sensory feedback) due to the exponentially increasing number of mechanical receptors found with greater proximity to the spine
Spinal segments that have lost normal range of motion will cause a loss of normal function of the muscles associated with those segments, which will result in a dramatic decrease in sensory feedback to the nervous system, which will result in an increased stress response in that region of the body. Since the muscles that maintain position and motion of spinal segments (vertebra) are involuntary, an external stimulus is required to change their function (such as a chiropractic adjustment)
The accumulation of joint and muscle restriction due to lack of physical activity, elevated emotional stress, poor nutrition, environmental exposure to toxins, and major or minor physical traumas that occur over the course of a person’s lifetime will inevitably lead to reduced activation of the nervous system through a loss of sensory feedback. Therefore, the nervous system suffers an overall reduction in its functional integrity, similar to a person that has been starved and dehydrated. It is not possible to function at optimum capacity in that state of distress
At ChiroMax Wellness Centers, we seeks to find and remove barriers to normal joint and muscle function, thereby dramatically increasing the sensory feedback to the nervous system and consequently improving the control and coordination of all systems within the body.
This is the essence of our holistic approach to health: removing interferences to the body’s natural state of homeostasis (perfect health). Chiropractors refer to these barriers as “subluxations”, whether they occur in spinal joints or those in the extremities. The associated effects on the nervous system and therefore the entire body are addressed as the “vertebral subluxation complex”, and no matter what technique is employed, this is the ultimate goal of our wellness care.
Why Joint Pain?
Joints form the connections between bones. The space between the bones allows for proper movement and function. They provide support and help you move. Any damage to the joints from disease or injury can interfere with your movement and cause a lot of pain.
Our body has many different types of joints, from those that barely move at all (like the sutures in your skull) to synovial joints that move in many different directions (like your shoulder joints, ankle joint, hip joint, spinal facet joints, etc.).
We know that when the joints move properly, your muscles and ligaments function at an optimal level. This affords you proper function without pain. However, when joints do not work properly, this leads to a whole host of problems. Primarily, the muscles and ligaments cannot function properly either.
They will tend to either shorten or elongate, depending on the joint problem. When this occurs, they leak toxins that irritate local tissues and nerves. This leads to further pain and dysfunction that compounds until the underlying issue is resolved.
Many different conditions can lead to painful joints, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, strains, sprains, and other injuries. Joint pain is extremely common. In one national survey, about one-third of adults reported having joint pain within the past 30 days. Knee pain was the most common complaint, followed by shoulder and hip pain, but joint pain can affect any part of your body, from your ankles to your shoulders. As you get older, painful joints become increasingly more common.
Joint pain can be caused by injury affecting any of the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the joint. Injury can also affect the ligaments, cartilage, and bones within the joint.
Pain is also a feature of joint inflammation (arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis) and infection, and it can rarely be a cause of tumors of the joint. Pain within the joint is a common cause of shoulder pain, ankle pain, and knee pain. Joint pain is also referred to as arthralgia. Joint pain can range from mildly irritating to debilitating.
It may go away after a few weeks (acute), or last for several weeks or months (chronic). Even short-term pain and swelling in the joints can affect your quality of life. Whatever the cause of joint pain, you can usually manage it with medication, physical therapy, or alternative treatments.
Your doctor will first try to diagnose and treat the condition that is causing your joint pain. The goal is to reduce pain and inflammation, and preserve joint function.
What causes joints not to work properly?
There are basically three factors. One is a mechanical. Macro trauma (big trauma) such as a car crash or bad fall and micro trauma (repetitive use injury) certainly lead to joint damage. Another factor is chemical. If your diet is inflammatory, you will be more likely to swell easily and be susceptible to more injury. The third factor that affects joint function is mental.
This is apparent when people are under stress. Many times they will get headaches, back pain, neck pain, stomach pain, etc. Stress affects the hormones and chemicals in your body and can create an environment where healthy joint function is hard to maintain.
ChiroMax Wellness Centers’ Treatment options
Many joint injuries can be fixed naturally, without surgery. At ChiroMax Wellness Centers, we correct the underlying cause of joint dysfunction so that the body can restore normal ranges of motion in the region that allows for the compensatory soft tissue reactions to heal. It is through this manner that our doctors are best suited to deal with joint pain and dysfunction.
Sometimes a referral is necessary if the patient has needs that are outside the scope of our clinic. If that is the case, ChiroMax Wellness Centers works with excellent professionals in all areas of medicine and will be sure that you get the proper care you need.
You can work with a physical therapist to strengthen the muscles around the joint, stabilize the joint, and improve your range of motion. The therapist will use techniques such as ultrasound, heat or cold therapy, electrical nerve stimulation, and manipulation.
In some cases where the patient maybe overweight, losing weight can relieve some of the pressure on the painful joints. Exercise is anther effective way to reduce weight and help with joint pain, but it’s essential to stick with low-impact exercises that won’t further irritate the joint.
Swimming and bicycling are among the best exercises because both allow the patient to exercise their joints without putting impact on them. Since water is buoyant, swimming also relieves some of the pressure on the joints.
Continuous Home Care Recommendation:
In addition to our in-office treatment and therapy, our doctors also recommend some home care and maintenance habits that can not only relieve short-term joint pain with a few simple techniques, but it’ll help preventing more pain from reoccurring such as:
- Protect the joint with a brace or wrap.
- Rest the joint, avoiding any activities that cause you pain.
- Ice the joint for about 15 minutes, several times each day.
- Compress the joint using an elastic wrap.
- Elevate the joint above the level of your heart.
Applying ice to your painful joints can relieve the pain and inflammation. For muscle spasms around joints, the doctor often recommend using a heating pad or wrap several times a day or he may recommend that you tape or splint the joint to minimize movement and reduce pain, as long as you avoid keeping the joint still for too long because it can eventually become stiff and lose function.
If you’ve been experiencing excessive joint pain ChiroMax Wellness Centers can offer you hope. To see one of our skilled doctors and to get an initial consultation, please call us at:
(713) 691-8355 (I-45 Location) or
(713) 222-6374 (I-10 Location)
and schedule an appointment. We are dedicated to getting you out of pain and back to feeling good again. Most forms of insurance accepted.