Why is an assessment so important?
Manual therapy interventions such as dry needling, cupping, massage, taping, and more are commonly used by Physical Therapists and other movement professionals. We have heard from people who regularly exercise and want to know - can I just come for dry needling (or some other manual intervention)? We have also encountered individuals with pain who have assumed they know what’s going on because they have a friend who has had a similar problem, or they themselves have had a similar problem in the past, and try to self-treat. They have pain down their leg, their co-worker said they also had pain down their leg at one time and were diagnosed with sciatica. The person googles exercises for sciatica, but they didn’t help and now they are in our office.
The manual interventions previously mentioned can all be beneficial to patients, and exercises found online aren’t all terrible. However, two people presenting with a similar problem may have very different causes. And although there is not always a specific mechanism of injury to blame for the onset of pain, most likely there is something going on in the musculoskeletal system that has led to this problem. Pain is also very complicated. The body sends signals to the brain that tissues are disrupted or inflamed, and the brain perceives that tissue problem as pain. Unfortunately, once pain becomes chronic, often times the tissue problem has resolved, but the brain is still signaling that the area is painful.
Our body works as a whole system, not individual parts. It is important to look at movements in all planes of motion, assess the person’s lifestyle and past medical history, and consider all of the pieces prior to determining a plan of care. If you’re experiencing pain, find a provider who takes the time to perform an individualized assessment and create an individualized treatment plan to help you reach your goals.