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Free Pain Guide

What Does Your Diagnosis Mean?

Mar 11, 2021

Ever walk out of a orthopedist or physical therapist's office after an assessment being told what your diagnosis is and leave with more questions than answers?


What if I translated the fancy latin words that you were issued with the following:


"patellofemoral pain" = knee pain

"spondylosis" = back pain

"hip impingement" = hip pain

"multidirectional instability" = shoulder pain

"herniated disc C5-C6" = neck pain


It is a little less intimidating, isn't it?


It also doesn't tell you anything you didn't already know. You already knew you were in pain. And you were already able to identify what area of your body hurt.


So what next?


Now, it's your job to find someone that can tell you "why".


A good physical therapist's assessment should involve the entire body. Identifying limitations at any joint can give you an idea of what strategy the individual is forced to use to complete simple daily activities such as walking or even with higher level activities such as sports.


If you were given any of the above diagnoses, it does not change HOW you should address your pain. It also does not change the significance of your pain/injury. It is simply a descriptive term doctors use to speak a common language.


Whether you show up with a script that reads "torn meniscus", "patellofemoral pain", "knee pain" or you show up without a script altogether and you just tell me your knee hurts, the diagnosis does not dictate the treatment. The assessment will, and always should, dictate what treatment and interventions are used to address limiting factors that are likely playing a role in how your are stressing your knee and leading to the pain you are experiencing.


If you are overwhelmed with not understanding what your diagnosis means, comment below or contact me directly at [email protected].