Have you ever felt a sudden pain or discomfort and wondered “What is that”? Your mind may have jumped to the conclusion that you were having bone pain because you know that there are bones literally everywhere in your body. But, did you know, that you also have muscles everywhere in your body?
Recently I was working with a patient who was convinced that he had a bone problem. In fact, when he came in he would point to a specific part of his bone and say that is where his pain was coming from. I remember at one appointment I was working near the area he always pointed to and he had a reproduction of his pain. He asked me “What is that?”
In this particular case it was a muscle called an adductor. Those muscles run on the inside of your thigh and attach right at the knee joint.
My patient says “There’s a muscle there?”
And you know what I said “Yes, there’s a muscle there!”
I spent some time explaining to him that the muscle that was a problem pulled on the bone. That is why he felt pain on his bone. Because the muscle was pulling on that part of the bone and causing the painful sensation. But, the root cause was the muscle. We had to eliminate the muscle tension so that it would stop pulling on the bone. Then the pain would go away.
Understanding Your Root Cause
It is critical that you have a comprehensive evaluation performed at the beginning of your plan of care. This helps you to understand the root cause of your symptoms and why you continue to have this problem. Even if you have already tried to address the problem with seeing other health care professionals.
As seen in the example above, you need someone to take a look at your from the outside to truly find the root cause of your symptoms. And, you need someone who can explain to you why this problem started in the first place.
You may have suffered from a trauma such as tripping while you were running, a car accident, or performing a Superman maneuver over your bike handles. Those are pretty obvious examples of why this problem started.
But many of our patients do not have one significant trauma that started their symptoms. Many people who choose to work with us have found that their symptoms slowly crept in over time. They are not quite sure HOW it started, WHY it started, or even WHEN it started. And, that is totally okay. You are in the right place. We can help you find the answers to these questions.
Muscles Cross Multiple Joints
Did you know that most of the muscles that start in your hip attach below you knee? It’s true! There are so many muscles in our bodies that cross multiple joints. Let’s look at a couple of these key muscles and then we will talk about why that matters to your body.
Psoas – Hip Flexor and Major Problem Child
You may have heard of the psoas muscle before. It is a hip flexor which means it brings you knee up towards your chest. And, it usually does an amazing job of that – until it doesn’t.
You may have become over reliant on your hip flexor which is causing it to become tight. This is a particular problem because of where the psoas is located. The psoas muscle starts on the front of the lowest vertebra. Those vertebra that make up your low back are the starting point for the psoas muscle. Then it moves down to attach into the front of your big leg bone.
So, the psoas attaches from your lumbar spine to the front of your thigh. Now, think about trying to stand up straight while your foot is attached to the ground. If your psoas is tight it will prevent you from being able to stand up straight. It will pull on your lumbar spine and bring it forward causing you to bend forward.
Which creates a whole new problem! If your lumbar spine is being pulled forward that means there will be compression along the back of your vertebra. And, what is along the back of your vertebra? The nerves. That are now getting compressed from the vertebra. That are being pulled forward because the psoas muscle is tight.
Do you understand why I call it a major problem child? Because when your psoas is tight it can affect SO MANY OTHER THINGS! And, if your psoas is not properly addressed then it can cause so many other problems.
Sartorius – Why Pain That Starts In Your Hip Ends Up In Your Knee
The Sartorius muscle starts on the outside of your hip and ends up on the inside of your knee. Have you ever tried doing a standing figure 4 pose in yoga only to find you have extreme knee pain? You have the Sartorius muscle to thank for that!
Now, you may be thinking that doesn’t apply to you and you are ready to move on. Hold on just one second. The Sartorius muscle is also one that gets easily injured when the foot, knee, or hip are not moving correctly. It runs diagonally across the front of the thigh putting the Sartorius muscle in a unique position for any abnormal movement through the leg.
I recently was working with a patient who had aching knee pain at night and difficulty walking. The root cause of her pain was the Sartorius muscle that was over working and causing an abnormal compression through her knees. After a full day of standing and walking, her knees would complain by becoming achy at night. Her plan included decreasing the stress on the Sartorius muscle by improving how the foot, knee, and hip were moving. Thereby eliminating her pain and letting her finally get some sleep!
Why This Matters To You
It matters who you choose to help you with your journey. All physical therapists are trained in anatomy but some have taken the time to study it further in depth. To understand how the muscles and joints are all connected. Because, the truth is that everything is in your body is connected.
It matters if you want a therapist who can explain your particular issue. Including explaining the root cause of your problem and what started that root cause. You may have a muscle strain but what caused that strain to start in the first place? If you don’t fix the root cause then the problem is guaranteed to come back.
It matters because your insurance will only cover one joint at a time. We have had many patients come to us because the more traditional Physical Therapy clinic was not able to treat the full body. Due to insurance limitations they were only able to treat the particular muscle or joint that was on the prescription. But, as you can see from the examples above, that will not provide long term relief of your symptoms. If your knee pain is caused by the Sartorius muscle that is irritated because your foot doesn’t strike the ground correctly, well, you will be out of luck dealing with that foot in a traditional insurance based clinic.
If you are interested in finding out more about how we would implement these concepts in your plan of care, then click here to apply for our Free Discovery Visit. During the visit we will listen to your story so we understand your journey. You will also have time to ask all of your questions to our Specialist Physical Therapists to decide if we are the best fit for your health care needs. If you decide that we are a good fit for what you are looking for then we can discuss what next steps with our clinic look like. But, there is no obligation to continue. This visit is completely risk free.
Our goal here at Physical Therapy for everyBODY is to help you make the best decision regarding your health needs. So you get the outcomes you want and can move forward with your life. Pain free and doing all the things you love. If you are looking for a clinic that is focused on you and your unique needs then we encourage you to sign up for our Free Discovery Visit. This is the first step in your health journey with us. What do you have to lose?