Many Veterans come to us only to discover that their current pain was a result of an injury on a different part of their body (see the blog: Is your leg pain causing your back pain?). This is a common result of altered body mechanics and the kinetic chain – when people alter their movements as a result of pain from an injury, which then causes other joints in the body to become stressed through the kinetic chain.
So, are your symptoms actually a result of a completely different injury? We detail how our movements are interconnected and explain a couple common scenarios below.
The interconnected systems in our bodies
There's a lot going on in our bodies, to say the least. The following are just a few of the interconnected systems that can be vastly impacted from a single injury to one part of the body:
The musculoskeletal system: This system is made up of muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons.
The nervous system: The brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves comprise the nervous system – known as the motor pathway for all movements.
Kinetic chains: As we mentioned above, kinetic chains are the way that movement in one area of the body affects movement in another. Read more on this concept here.
How can joints become injured from an altered gait or stance?
If you've ever stubbed your toe and then walked differently for a few hours, you'll understand this concept. The word "gait" refers to one's manner of walking, and "stance" is the posture of the body while standing. When we have an altered gait, the resulting imbalance can lead to back issues, joint injuries, and other related pains.
Increased stress on the joints and abnormal impact force cause joint overloading, leading to injury over time.
How do the left and right side of the body affect each other?
A large volume of body movements require coordinated actions between the left and right sides of the body. This functional integration allows the left and right sides of our bodies to work in tandem, for activities such as walking or using hand-eye coordination. If you get an injury on one side of the body, it can affect the opposite in the following ways:
Compensatory mechanisms: If injury occurs on one side of the body, people will commonly compensate by altering their movements. This can result in a greater load of force on the opposite side, increasing stress on the joints and muscles.
Muscle atrophy: Atrophy, the loss of muscle, can occur as a result of injury. As a result, the corresponding limb or muscle can struggle to maintain function and strength.
Nervous system cross-talk: Nerve pathways extend between the left and right side of the body. Injury on one side of the body can disrupt this communication, affecting the opposite region.
Ready to solve that mystery pain once and for all?
We can help. Speak with one of our caring team members at MRPY Professional Services today. We're ready to help you get VA disability benefits in a fast and cost-efficient manner.