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Muscle pain or something more serious?

Types of pain (1)

When Dr Beau has a client arrive at the clinic and is presenting with pain, he firstly has to determine what kind of pain this is! For the client it is just uncomfortable, annoying, disruptive even debilitating. But as a Chiropractor he needs to gather information to lead to a diagnosis and recommendation for the next steps in care.  So therefore analysis of the type of pain is extremely important. This is why thorough and appropriate testing is done at your visit.

Here are a bunch of pain types that Chiropractors analyse in their patient during their testing process:

Muscle Pain

  • Known as Myalgia
  • Can be caused by the muscle, tendon or ligament strain or stress
  • Pain is usually made worse when activated or used
  • Pain usually OK with passive movements
  • Rest relieves this usually, with some added magnesium to aid the muscle! magnesium powders, tablets, sprays and creams are available in clinic.
  • Muscle pain can be referred pain from other areas of the body. Referred pain is thought to be caused by a sort of miscommunication as the messages enter the spinal cord, and your brain mis localises the pain.
  • Myalgia, if not acute, usually responds better to heat. Grab a heat pack from your Chiro they are great after exercise too!


  • When we talk about inflammation in the musculoskeletal system, we are talking about inflammation in and around joints.
  • Typically worse with inactivity and at night. So movement in key!
  • Often a stabbing or throbbing pain can be present.
  • Moving the involved joint either passively or actively will recreate pain.
  • Responds better to ice. Ice packs are available in clinic and always a good idea to have on hand.

Nerve Pain

  • Caused by either physical compression of the nerve, or by irritation of the nerve by surrounding fluid/inflammation.
  • Often described as burning, electric or sharp pain that travels or ‘shoots’ along a path.
  • Can cause loss of function of the muscles that the nerve innervates.
  • Nerve can be irritated/compressed anywhere along its path, NOT just in the spine.
  • Responds to both heat/ice, depending on the cause of the nerve pain. eg., Heat to relax a muscle that is compressing the nerve; or ice to reduce inflammation that is irritating the nerve.

Systemic Organ Pain

  • Pain caused by inflammation or disease of an organ.
  • Can refer pain to different areas of the body. eg. The Liver and gall bladder can cause right shoulder pain.
  • Referred pain can occur due to convergence of the nerves
  • Pain usually worse at night, and usually (some exceptions) not relieved or aggravated by movement.
  • The potential for organs to cause back, shoulder and flank pain is the reason we take a thorough history, to rule out any organs as the cause of your pain.
  • Requires referral to your physician for assessment and treatment.

If you have any questions related to this information please ask your Chiropractor on your next visit.

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