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Referred pain is common in the body. It can cause some confusion for the person suffering from it and can easily throw the unsuspecting practitioner.

Some referred pain is quite clear, such as sciatica where the pain starts  in the back and runs down the leg. Most people understand this as they have heard the term and understand that the nerve is being irritated. However, many referred pains are less clear. Common areas of confusion include pain around the hip, buttock area which can come from local structures or be referred from the back. Similarly, pain across the back and top of the shoulders can come from the shoulder or the neck or have components from both structures.

One of our roles as physiotherapists is to determine which structures are contributing to the patient’s pain. This requires a thorough assessment of all areas that may contribute. To do this, we will ask you various questions about your pain and then perform numerous tests on nerves, joints and muscles. Together, this builds us a story and a plan of treatment to efficiently and effectively improve pain and mobility.

Published in “The Village Observer”, August, 2014, written by Burns Bay Physiotherapy.