Pain That’s Hard to Pinpoint

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Do you ever have pain that’s hard to locate?  It feels like one day it will be in one place and another day it will be in another place, probably nearby by definitely not the same place?


That kind of pain is likely to be muscle pain…or pain from tight (meaning hyper toned, but not necessarily shortened) muscles.


Muscle pain can hurt a tremendous amount.  Each muscle has a well established pain area and  these areas are often not located where the muscle is.  They are often located “downstream” in a neurological sense of the word.  If we say that the nerve impulse is originating in your brain and spinal cord and it’s headed out to the end of your arms and legs and out to your body’s surface, then downstream of the tight muscle would be along the nerve’s path and farther away from the brain and spinal cord.  For instance there is an often tight, low back muscle that, when it’s tight enough to cause pain, will end up hurting in your hip and butt.


It can be super helpful to know about muscle pain referral patterns because they can help you locate the source of an elusive and frustrating pain.  And if you can locate the source you can treat it. A muscle that is causing pain referral will respond best to steady pressure. Heat could also help.  Oddly stretching doesn’t seem to do as much good, though it can be a way to keep the muscle healthier after you’ve helped it with steady pressure. So stretching…and movement in general, is a good way to prevent this kind of muscle pain.


How can you use this information?


This isn’t the right medium to go into all the muscle pain referral patterns, but if you google that phrase and click on images you’ll get lots of charts and things and hopefully be able to find your target area.


Once you get an idea of which spot to try applying pressure you can find a creative way to try applying a steady, acceptable pressure to the target area.  If you can reach the area easily you can try doing this with your hand. You can also lay on a ball, or a ball wrapped in a towel or something like that. The smaller and more specific the pressure the more intense and possibly painful it will be.  I recommend starting with a broad pressure.


Apply the pressure, or lay on the ball until the intensity decreases.  If it’s too painful the intensity likely won’t decrease. In this case switch to using a broader pressure.


When you’re done get up and move around and see if the elusive pain is gone, and see if it stays gone over the next couple of hours.  If it does, then you’re on to something. Now that you know what muscle is causing the pain you can re-apply the pressure intermittently, you can apply heat to the muscle and now you can stretch it and try to move it more throughout the day.  


I should mention that you could also hire someone like me who know about this stuff to help you with the details.


I hope that’s helpful.  Let me know what you learn, what you find useful and what more you’d like to know.

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