Countless times we see patients who come in with symptoms that has come on for no particular reason.

It may have been a gradual onset or it just popped up one day, but the patient just cannot put their finger on what is the cause. We see this regularly in the spine with lower back, thoracic, neck and head pain but it is also common in our extremities.

Now picture this, you get a random pain in your calf muscle and its progressively getting worse. Your first thought would probably be: “I’ve strained my calf muscle”, “There’s something wrong with my calf” and you may be correct. But in the absence of a traumatic event where you can definitively say this is when it happened, it just might not be. It could be your spine.

A 2020 study abbreviated as the ‘EXPOSS’ study showed that over 40% of subjects that had isolated extremity pain (which means they didn’t have any back or neck pain at the time) who believed their pain was not originating from the spine responded to spinal treatment. This then means they were classified as having a spinal origin of pain and treated under the McKenzie Physiotherapy principles that we regularly use here at The Physio Joint.

What does this mean in terms of how we assess and treat you?

It means that any good physiotherapist should always thoroughly assess and clear your spine before moving onto treat a local extremity issue.

Is it any more serious if it does turn out to be my spine?

It most instances no. In fact the EXPOSS study showed subjects that were identified as having a spinal origin of pain actually had better outcomes after spinal physiotherapy treatment than those patients that did not have a spinal origin and received local extremity treatment.