Treatment for referred pain
In most cases, Chiropractors and health care professionals needs to evaluate and treat the cause of the referred pain. If we treat the part of your body that’s in pain instead of treating the part that’s injured, the pain won’t settle. It’s so common when I treat that clients are continually surprised that I find tender muscles and joints on the opposite side to the pain, and they say ‘I didn’t know I had a pain that side’. The non-painful side can often be the more tender side, when massaged or palpated.
These are painful or tight spots or ‘knots’ in muscles which cause pain, either locally or in another area of the body. Also described as ‘a small hypersensitive region from which impulses bombard the central nervous system and give rise to referred pain’. There are various uses of the term trigger point therapy or treatment.
This is a good sign of referred, or radicular, pain to another distal area of the body. It’s given the name ‘doorbell’ because there is an almost instant result of pain, which ‘rings’ in another area, like pressing a doorbell.
Common areas of doorbell signs are:
- Pressing on the base of the neck, the suboccipital muscles, causes headaches
- Pressing on a cervical facet joint refers pain to upper back
- Pressing on an injured nerve root in the neck simulates pain down the arm.
- Pressing on the piriformis muscle refers sciatic pain down the leg.
Often, when a doorbell sign is found it is an extremely helpful test in understanding the exact cause of the pain. Often clients say to me ‘That’s exactly the pain I get’ as I push on the ‘doorbell’ or cause of the pain. It’s very common, then, that with treatment holding the spot, massage and releasing techniques, the tight muscle causing the pain relaxes and the ‘ringing’ pain subsides, allowing the injury to heal.