Pain comes in many forms.

Is it local muscular or joint pain?  Or is it NERVE pain?  Having at least a hunch about what kind of pain it is empowers you to know where to turn for help.  Here are a few guidelines to help you “make sense” of what’s happening to your body…especially since MD’s often don’t know or don’t help isolate the source of pain.

Muscle Pain

Muscle pain typically shows up as a big dull ache or a feeling of tightness, and might even feel ‘general’ in nature.  Another way to think about this is the pain is “hard to describe” for those who aren’t great at listening to their body signals.

Joint Pain

Joint pain can be either widespread or focused and sharp, but tends to be more painful when you’re moving vs. at rest.  That’s unless we’re talking about serious arthritis in changing weather conditions, like rainy or humid days where the barometric pressure is changing (more inflammatory in nature…).

Nerve Pain

Gnawing pain that doesn’t go away can be nerve pain.

It often doesn’t respond to non-prescription painkillers you can buy in the pharmacy, or even prescription level ones.  Nerve pain can be sharp and lightning-like.  It can happen at rest.  And sometimes it leads to involuntary muscle or body twitching.  It can also manifest during times of stress, headaches, or in the heat of athletic competition.


A recent new patient, who plays volleyball, complained of major headaches during intense playing periods.  Her x-rays left no doubt for me what is the neurological source of those symptoms, even though she otherwise would be considered healthy.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.

Just laying down a trail of bread crumbs for you.

One that shows – again – why it’s so important for you to get any form of pain properly assessed.  My role first and foremost is to point you in the right direction on your healing path.  And you know I’m all about function freedom and greater capacity in life; I’m the first to admit that Chiropractic can help a lot IF nerves are the underlying issue, but in other cases you might need a referral to osteopathy, massage, both, or physiotherapy.

And if that’s what my assessment finds, I’m happy to make that referral.

Anyway, hope the above gives you more insight into how to “read” your body’s pain signals.

That does it for today.

Hope your year is off to a great start!

Sincerely In Health,

Dr. Josh