Why Are My Joint Problems On One Side Of My Body?

As a Physical Therapist I am often asked the question, why are my problems on one side of my body? My personal response includes information on our bodies Anatomy (our body parts), Physiology (how we work) and Kinesiology (how we move). Physical Therapists are well equipped to answer this question based on our education and skill in assessing orthopedic, neurological and movement dysfunction.

The human body is a remarkable machine with a frame work of bones, joints and soft tissues that support and move us. The nervous system acts to bring information to the brain and back out to our body, with the brain serving as the control center. Our circulatory system feeds our body parts and brings fluids to our organs to filter, regulate and replenish our fluids. The bodies skeletal system is very dependent on positioning and alignment, which is controlled by our cartilage, ligaments and neuromuscular systems and fed by the circulatory system.

So if you are experiencing pain, stiffness or joint problems in a part of your body there is likely a problem in your positioning (posture), strength and or movement patterns. Unfortunately most of us spend our days performing repetitive tasks, sitting, standing and moving in certain ways. Over time this will create an imbalance and start to create micro traumas, (wear) and an imbalance in strength and flexibility. Some of our tissues will repair themselves to a certain degree, but if we do not address and balance our positioning and movement patterns we will eventually break down our systems and eventually begin to notice signs and symptoms. If we ignore these signs and symptoms we might get lucky and they resolve, usually only to come back later and more often than not they continue and become more frequent and intense. You might choose to treat the symptoms with over the counter or prescribed medications, heat, cold, wraps, and braces. That may buy some time, but the best approach would be to address the source of the symptoms.

An experienced Physical Therapist will assess your systems and determine the source(s) of your signs and symptoms and help you address your positioning, movement, strengths and habits. Remember the saying “your hip bone is connected to your thigh bone, your thigh bone is connected to your knee bone”. Our bodies are interdependent and if your hip is wearing, you can bet your knee is wearing, along with other compensation patterns, which are often why your problems are on one side and related. Therapists refer to this as a kinetic chain of events.

Don’t ignore the early signs and symptoms and seek help from a Physical Therapist. We are here to help anyone from the young athlete to your favorite aunt or uncle who have recently slowed down due to aches and pains.

– Steve