Pain Versus Function. What You Should Know!
Pain and function are inversely related in the aspect of how your body feels, moves, and performs through life.
Pain most commonly is the driving force for change because of the unpleasant feeling and limitation it causes. But what if there was a way to lower the chances of pain, injury, and degeneration from occurring in the first place? That‘s where the term “function” comes into play.
Your body’s “overall function” refers to your biomechanical ability to move through space. How your body functions is a true determinant of your overall well-being. It’s what allows for accurate diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal pain. Assessing your functional well-being helps a clinician to effectively treat the root cause of your pain. When the main goal is solely based on decreasing pain you miss the big picture.
You may not realize it but over time due to posture, injury, and improper education the function of your body (joint mobility, muscular coordination/ stability, and soft tissue tightness) gets disrupted. These functional checkpoints are the first warning signs that an injury or pain may occur.
In most cases, pain is the last symptom to present and the last to resolve. In between these time points your body is changing how it functions. Through preventative care, this can easily be managed before it spirals into a bigger problem leading to pain and a longer time out of sport.
We all have seen someone walking down the street with stiff joints and a strange walking gait. While this individual may not be in any pain their body is not functioning to the level it should be, when functional deficits are seen you can always bet pain and an increased likelihood of injury will follow.
This is also true in high-performance athletes, while their functional defects may not be as noticeable to the untrained eye or hand they are present and can lead to pain and injury. The trained clinician should use multiple techniques to determine how your body is functioning on a global scale before pain and injury strike.
Techniques include joint palpation, muscle tone/ tonicity, and muscular activation/ motor programs. When implemented at the right time you can truly work towards keeping your body in the best condition possible. Preventative care saves time and cost for the healthcare system by giving you the tools needed to keep your body in the best shape possible.
Everyone is familiar with a routine check-up with their dentist or an annual physical with their primary care physician, but what often gets forgotten is a check-up of our musculoskeletal system’s well-being. It is estimated that 1 out of 2 adults are affected by musculoskeletal conditions and even higher for those 65 years or older being 3 out of 4.
Prioritizing the way your body functions is critical for achieving overall well-being and longevity. If we can effectively change our body’s functional deficits before they turn into pain, injury, and degeneration we can better manage our health over time with less influence from more invasive medical treatments.
Using a functional model of health care enables accurate diagnosis and treatment aimed at addressing the root cause of your pain. Pain and function have an inverse relationship - as one decreases, the other increases. Paying attention to early warning signs such as joint mobility, muscular coordination, stability, and soft tissue tightness can help prevent injury from worsening, leading to pain and more prolonged periods away from the activities you enjoy. With the right preventative care, you can easily manage these warning signs before they escalate into more significant issues.
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