Insult to Injury: Why You Haven’t Made A Full Recovery

Insult to Injury: Why You Haven’t Made A Full Recovery

Insult to Injury: Why You Haven’t Made A Full Recovery


        If you are a runner, fitness enthusiast, weekend warrior, or weightlifter then chances are that you have dealt with an injury at some point. You may very well be dealing with an injury right now and are unsure of how to overcome it. Unfortunately the sequence of events below is all too common and leaves you frustrated and concerned on whether or not you’ll be able to get back to your favorite routine. The typical sequence of events from injury to recovery looks like this:

  1. Injury Occurs
  2. Injury is rested for some time
  3. Athlete, runner, fitness enthusiast tries to return back but the pain is still there.
  4. Multiple doctor visits with frustration and no answers (or no plan on how to recover properly)
  5. Maybe even some Google or YouTube advice
  6. Frustration sets in even more with concern on how you will get back to your favorite activity whether it be running, exercising, weight lifting, or your favorite fitness class.

     Sound familiar at all? Whether you are on step 1 from above or step 3 the important thing to consider is WHY you haven’t made the full recovery yet. There are some very common reasons as to why the body has not fulled healed and the pain from injury remains which I will discuss below.

 1.Wrong Diagnosis

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              I’ve heard it a lot in my clinic. “I went to see a PT already but didn’t get better”, “I saw an orthopedist but I am still in pain”, “I already have been to see a Chiropractor but I only got minimal relief”. One common theme with these statements is that the person sought out help but was left disappointed when the treatment they received did not FIX their issue.  One question I always ask is ” What did they THINK the problem was” and unfortunately the answer I often get is “Well they weren’t really sure what the issue was” or “I was never given a clear diagnosis”.  That is MAJOR problem. Before fixing any injury (which essentially is providing the right healing environment for the body) you must figure out what is actually causing the issue to begin with (“the root cause”). Most injuries occur because of some sort of deficit or imbalance in the body. It is vital to go through a proper assessment to determine what the “cause” of the injury actually is. Once the true root cause of the condition is found proper treatment can be given. If treatment is given without this assessment and without identifying risk factors then you will not get the results that you desire.

2.Wrong Treatment

          Far too often I hear patients tell me stories about how they were given generic exercises (aka “cookie cutter approach”)  that did not work for them. They invested a good amount of time and money but weren’t given the tailored approach that their body needed for them to heal. Each person who deals with an injury should be treated according to their SPECIFIC needs. For instance not all knee pain should be treated with the same exercises and stretches. Treatment depends on #1 the diagnosis (see above). Even then after the correct diagnosis is given the treatment can vary depending on what stage of injury the person is currently at ( i.e very beginning, middle, end stage, chronic). Think about it this way. If you have a small leak in the roof then you get the roofing company to come out and diagnose the issue quickly right? They provide the immediate easy solution and the leak is fixed. However what if you let that leak linger and it becomes bigger? Does the issue become more complex? Maybe it starts to involve other parts of your home? The point is that the simple leak that is found quickly is treated much more differently than the  leak that has “been there for a while and is starting to cause more issues”. The same concept can be applied to an injury. Some key things to consider when resolving an injury is:

  1. What stage (early, middle, late) of healing are you currently at (your healthcare provider should be able to tell you this)
  2. What can you do to provide an optimal healing environment (i.e specific exercises, activity modification)

3.Wrong Healing Environment

          An optimal healing environment is CRUCIAL to overcoming injury. It is often one of the most overlooked factors that can help get you back to running, surfing, exercising, or playing your favorite sport.  Below are some of the factors that are involved in having the optimal healing environment for your injury:


        Sleep is very important to allow for healing. During sleep our body takes the time to repair and remodel any damage that has occurred. In order for an injury to heal properly the appropriate amount of rest must take place. If you are waking up tired and find yourself needing that caffeine pick up in the early afternoon you likely are not getting the appropriate amount of sleep for optimal recovery.


        Its likely that your injury has kept you from being able to exercise to the full extent. Yes, you may not be able to do a lot of your favorite exercises but it would be beneficial for you to find other avenues. For example if you love running but your knee hurts then try biking. If you have a hip injury that only hurts during squats and box jumps then skip those during your next workout (just do everything else that doesn’t cause your hip to hurt). Point being that its important to stay as ACTIVE as possible when dealing with any injury. It will help your mood and keep your moving towards your goal.


       This is another factor that is also overlooked. What kind of food have you been eating? The body relies on good nutrients to perform optimally. Take a good look at what you eat and drink then ask yourself if you think its beneficial or detrimental for you. Get your diet right so your body can make the best use of those nutrients it needs to heal.


       Keeping a positive mindset is crucial to recovery. There are so many psychological aspects that are overlooked when recovering from injury. People often fear the worst “What if this doesn’t work?”, “I guess I’ll have to live with this for the rest of my life”, “Nothing seems to work for me”. All of these negative thoughts WILL affect recovery. If you don’t think something will work or you are constantly worried you are wasting your time then it’s likely that you won’t put the effort in to reach your goals.  The stress of life can also affect our ability to stay focused and that is why being in a supportive environment is very important.

       If you are dealing with an injury and have not recovered the way you expected then consider what has been mentioned above. The most common reasons runners, fitness, enthusiasts, and weekend warriors are kept from doing what they love is because of the issues discussed in this article. There’s so much confusion out there about what to do or who to see and that can make the whole situation even more frustrating!  Click Here For a Free Injury Phone Consult if you are struggling and are not sure what to do. We’ll have an open and honest conversation about what you are struggling with and what the best step for you to take is. Here’s to happy and healthy healing!




3 Most Common Causes of Shoulder Blade Pain

3 Most Common Causes of Shoulder Blade Pain

3 Most Common Causes of Shoulder Blade Pain

        Shoulder blade pain is a common condition that affects office workers, manual laborers, athletes, and weight lifters. Many times pain in the shoulder blade can be caused by a problem with the muscles in your upper back which is also called the thoracic spine. Shoulder blade pain can also occur due to problem at with the spine itself. However, a little-known fact is that pain in the shoulder blade may be referred pain from the neck. Often times people fail treatment for their shoulder blade pain because the root cause of the pain (which can be the neck) was not treated. In this article we’ll cover the different possible causes of shoulder blade pain.

  1. Upper Back/Thoracic Spine

The upper back (which can also be referred to as the thoracic spine) is the part of the spine that runs down from our neck between the shoulder blades.  The upper back plays a roll in the ability to maintain good posture, move the neck, throw a ball, and lift objects at overhead. Good mobility in the thoracic spine is necessary in order to move the arms, upper back, and neck without difficulty. When there is a loss of mobility in the thoracic spine then pain can set it. Some of the common signs of pain related to the upper back include:

  1. Pain with prolonged sitting postures
  2. Pain with overhead lifting
  3. Pain with twisting your back side to side

  If the pain is caused by the upper back region it may feel tight, sharp or a dull ache.  Normally the pain can begin as stiffens and gradually worsen into a sharp sensation if left untreated. This type of pain is usually felt on one side between the spine and the shoulder blade. It can be hard to pinpoint on yourself where the pain is coming from as it may be coming from the muscles in that region or the spine itself. If you feel pain with moving that area of your upper back in certain ways then the pain may be due to a restriction at the thoracic spine.

  1. Referred Pain from the Neck

In order to determine the root cause of the shoulder blade pain sometimes areas AWAY from the site of the actual pain need to be considered. For instance, it has been well documented that the neck can actually refer pain down into the shoulder blade region.  There have been studies conducted that have shown that certain parts of the neck when pressed upon can refer pain into the shoulder blade region.  It is important for any case of shoulder blade pain that the neck be assessed as the possible root cause. Common signs of shoulder blade pain that comes from the neck includes:

  1. Pain reproduced with moving the neck
  2. Pain with prolonged looking down
  3. Multiple sites of pain including top of the shoulder, neck, and shoulder blade

Pain in the shoulder blade pain from the neck can be described as a burning or tingling sensation. Often time people will get a massage to the area because it feels as if the muscles in that region have been “pulled”. Unfortunately, the relief from the massage usually does not last long because it does not address the underlying root cause of the pain. A simple way to decipher whether or not your shoulder blade pain is to move to turn your head side to side and look up then down. If this reproduces some of the pain that you feel in shoulder blade region then there is a possibility that the pain you are experience could be coming from the neck.

  1. Poor Posture and Muscle Weakness

Modern desk jobs and increased use of technology have led to greater demands being placed on our upper back and shoulder blade region. Larger amounts of stress are placed on the shoulder blade muscles and upper back as sitting becomes the majority position during the day.  When muscles get overworked they then become “fatigued” and tighten up because they are no longer able to perform their job well.  This will give the sensation that your shoulder blade region feels “tight” causing you to “stretch” the area out. However typically the underlying root case of the pain is from a “weakness” in key shoulder blade muscles and not a true tightness. Some common signs of this pain include:

  1. Pain that increases with sitting as the day progresses.
  2. Pain that is relieved with laying down
  3. One sided pain that feels tight or dull ache.

People that experience shoulder blade pain associated with weak muscles typically report they do not notice their symptoms as much during their off days or on the weekend. If the shoulder blade pain occurs during certain lifting or sporting activities and not during rest periods then that can also be a sign indicating muscle weakness.  This is because during the “down time” or “off time” the muscles are not placed under as much stress and thus do not get “overworked”. Below is an exercise that can be worked on to improve muscle endurance in your shoulder blades. Start with your elbows and arms up against the table and then slide your arms up the wall. Then return back to start position. Perform in a slow and controlled manner until you feel fatigue in the upper back/shoulder blade region.

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