by Dr. DarrellM. Schreyer, D.C.
Oh, those nagging little injuries that seem to creep up again and again. You know the one; that shoulder problem that returns after playing tennis, that "trick knee" that appears after every third basketball pick-up game, or the low back that creaks and groans every morning after you go cycling.
Most people, including most athletes, have had this type of experience at one time or another in his or her career. It is very hard to avoid, especially in this day and age of the "quick fix". Everyone, especially athletes, are motivated to get back to action as soon as possible, even if this means returning to action before the body is fully repaired. If this happens to an injured area more than once, the problem has a far greater chance of becoming chronic. If this problem becomes chronic for long enough, it will re-occur with amazing consistency.
" I've been taking anti-inflammatory medicine and pain killers for a six months and they said the problem would be resolved in a week. After the drugs wear off, I feel as bad as ever."
" My knee was injured in a tennis tournament last year. My MD sent me through a lot of physical therapy and stretches to help it, but every time I play I still seem to limp off the court."
" My last trip down the slope ended in a bad fall and I hurt my back. Massage therapy and traction help at the time, but when I sit or stand too long my problem returns."
All too often these types of injuries are neglected. Return to action too soon is followed closely by the wrong type of treatment performed on these problems. These last three quotes were related to me by recent patients who did not see significant results in their treatment.
A lot of treatment is based on symptoms. Symptoms such as pain, are the greatest motivating factor known to main to get something accomplished. Unfortunately most people think that when a symptom is gone, so is the problem. This is not true the majority of the time.
I am going to explain this with an analogy of an iceberg. The cause (injury) or problem is the large block of ice hiding under the water, while jutting up out of the water is the pain or symptom represented by the tip of the iceberg. When the temperature of the water gets colder the iceberg grows. Eventually its buoyancy level gets so large that the tip appears. As the water and air get slightly warmer, the tip of the iceberg recedes, and the block of ice under the water gets smaller. Just like an injury, we start out with an injury (problem) and a pain (symptom). The pain is the first thing that will go away, just as the tip diminishes, but the underlying problem is still hiding under the surface of the water. It is waiting to reappear and produce another symptom when the water gets cold enough again or you decide to use the symptomless area again.
If drugs are not working, if physical therapy or massage not helping, try taking a look at a more structural approach to helping a problem. One that is seen with Chiropractic Health Care comes to mind. After the skeletal structure of the body is properly aligned, then massage and physical therapy are very beneficial supplementary treatments. Drugs on the other hand do nothing but mask the symptoms so that the body in time can block out the pain. The problem will still be there, but you just won't know it.