Understanding Pain Patterns

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Do you find yourself treating “pain” without always getting to the source of where it’s coming from?

Often clients come to see me to treat symptoms of discomfort and pain. Discomfort can take hold somatically in many forms. The way the symptoms present are clues that tell us not only what to look for but where to look for dysfunction in the body.  For example, pain can present along the line of a muscle, diffuse across several muscles, pin pointed, sharp, dull, burning, electric, etc. The pain may be superficial, deep, or radiating.

All of these are clues to a trained P-DTR practitioner to quickly solve a neurological puzzle.

I recently had a case of an athlete who developed right shoulder and neck pain when performing pressing type motions including pushups.  She had tried stretching, foam rolling, and rest but the symptoms persisted.  After treating her shoulder for nociception in the glenohumeral joint and Golgi tendon organ dysfunctions in the ligaments of the shoulder, the discomfort in her neck and shoulder had all but resolved.

After challenging her body again with a workout the following week, the shoulder discomfort started to creep back. I asked her if the discomfort, which traveled down her posterior lateral arm around her deltoid and intermuscular septum, was superficial or deep.

This simple question is one that clients often take pause to think about.

I palpated her arm and gave light pressure and then deep pressure – down to the bone. The pain for her was only felt with pressure on the humerus. This was the last piece of the puzzle for her treatment.

She was presenting with a C5 sclerotomal pain.

Many people understand the concepts of dermatomes and myotomes but overlook sclerotomes. Dermatomes relate to the nerve root that innervates a skin region, while myotomes relate to the nerve root that innervates a muscular region. Sclerotomes on the other hand are the innervation of bones from a particular spinal level. With this understanding of the client’s symptom, I used P-DTR to treat the client’s C5 facet joint and the pain was completely resolved.

Having an assortment of tools in your toolbox is critical.

Knowing when to use the correct tool at the correct time is a key skill we teach practitioners in our P-DTR courses.

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