Understanding your symptoms is foundational in our ability to help you resolve your problem. A good assessment starts with taking a good history. At SOS PT, we take the time to listen to your story and hear your experience. This is a vital part of our initial evaluation as it helps guide our physical examination. We use a response-based assessment known as the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy. Your history, along with your movement response, is essential to determining what exercise is right for you.
There are five key questions that we use when taking your history that help us gather the information we need to better understand your symptoms.
1. First we want to know where you are having pain. The location of your symptoms helps us determine what areas of the body we need to test with movement. For example, if you’re having shoulder and arm pain, we’re going to test your shoulder movement, but we’re also going to screen your neck as this can also refer pain into your arm.
2. The next thing we want to know is if your pain is constant or does it come and go. This is helpful in determining if we’re dealing with joint related pain, contractile pain, or with tissue that might still be inflamed.
3. Third, we’ll want to know how long you’ve been dealing with your symptoms. Certain conditions develop over time and others can come on rather suddenly. How long you’ve been having your symptoms also give us an idea of how long it may take to resolve your symptoms.
4. Fourth, we’ll want to know what makes your pain worse. Is there certain things you do throughout the day that you know will aggravate your pain? Often times, if we know what makes your pain worse, it gives us an idea of what movement might make it feel better.
5. Lastly we’ll want to know if you feel more stiffness or difficulty with movement when your pain is worse. For example, if you have pain when sitting down, do you have stiffness or difficulty standing up straight when you go to get up out of the chair?
Bonus: Do you know what makes your pain better? You are the expert when it comes to your body. If you know what makes you feel better, this can often times point us in the right direction as to what exercise or movement you might respond best to.