Hello to our entire patient family in the Michiana Area and on the campus of the University of Notre Dame! It’s the beginning of September, and I am excited about being a part of the sport I enjoy most, college football. As usual, I am also excited about finding treatments for challenging cases, using our extensive examinations to help our patients.
Did you ever have sharp, excruciating pain in your low back that radiated into your buttocks and hip? Were you ever in the situation where the medical providers you had seen for years always got rid of your pain, but now their treatment is no longer helping? If so, sometimes it could be a result of a rare muscle weakness.
I recently had 3 very worried patients come into our office; ages 15, 48 and 59 with the same complaints. In the past, their back pain and spasms were never this intense and could usually be decreased and solved with a few months of treatment by their usual medical care provider. As a matter of fact, they would see their provider to keep them from having such episodes on a regular basis. For some reason, this particular pain and spasm was not resolving with the usual treatment. As a matter of fact, the treatment itself, unbeknownst to the provider and patient was actually making their condition worse.
During the examination, in every one of these cases, the main problem was not a so-called slipped disc or facet problem. It was a weakness in the hip which was causing their back, buttock and hip pain along with their back spasms. In two of these cases the patients were runners and had been overstretching their hip and weakening it without knowing. In the other case, the person had a sedentary job; sitting and driving a great deal with no exercising.
The surprising part was how quickly the specific exercises to the piriformis and gluteus maximus got rid of the tingling and spasms. The patients, who did do their exercises religiously, seemed to get immediate relief in 2-3 visits.
As we try to explain to our patients, our philosophy of treatment emphasizes an atypical perspective which make sense to us. When treating patients with our exercises, joint mobilizations, stretching or with the use of modalities, we are hoping for one of two results; each patient will hopefully get better or they may get worse. We do not want our patients, while we are treating them, to stay the same.
Let me explain... If the pain is decreasing and the patient is improving, we are treating the injury in the right place and with the correct treatment. If the pain gets worse, we are also treating the patient in the correct area, but we are treating them with the wrong treatment. If the pain stays the same and never changes, we know we are not in the correct area of what is causing the pain, and we have no idea if our treatment of choice is even relevant to our patient’s pain problem!
I hope this makes sense to you all. I also hope, if you have any of these symptoms you will call and get in to see us as soon as possible. Thanks for allowing us to be your family physical therapy clinic of choice. We are honored to still be blessed to serve you over the last 30 years!
Enjoy the journey,