Pain Cues – Are You Listening?

I have enjoyed a career in physical therapy for more than 30 years.  In that time span, my goal in practicing orthopedic, sports, musician injury and prevention and manual physical therapy, has been to help people move more effectively without pain. Patients who experience joint pain, muscle aches and pains, desire to be pain-free fast. The desire to get better fast, often leads people to look for information from sometimes reliable, but often unreliable sources on the internet before seeking a qualified medical expert. I advise people to consult with their Physician and Physical Therapist prior to starting any new rehab program or using a homeopathic alternative product like, CBD.

The purpose of this post is to give you insight into listening to “pain cues” and offer some suggestions and tools on how to effectively balance your movement. This discussion refers specifically to mild to moderate pain from musculoskeletal repetitive, overuse symptoms from activities such as texting or typing, playing an instrument, overhead motions or running;  it does not refer to acute and severe pain from traumatic sudden onset injuries such as Rotator Cuff Tears, anterior cruciate tears and the like. We know pain interrupts healthy movement, which is essential to healing, but we also know to heal properly, we need to slow down. The question is, how much movement and how much slower do we need to go?

How can I help people move and heal at the same time?

First, listening to my patient describe what motions produce pain is key. I listen and learn about what the patient’s, painful movement patterns are. Second, I take objective measurements and assess what impairments are most limiting. I then help the patient learn safe and effective movement patterns to keep them moving while they heal. This is essential to healthy movement during the healing process.

Third, I help my patients think in terms of moving efficiently by offering home exercise tools that give balance to their bodies and reinforce the movement patterns.

How do you balance your body? 

The key to helping patients balance their body for healthy movement is in the strengthening of weak or inhibited muscles, which when strengthened, provides better joint balance and function.

To do this, decreasing pain is the first goal. Therapeutic soft tissue massage is one treatment I suggest. Because soft tissue massage often involves some sort of topical application, patients often ask about topical solutions they could apply at home. There are many over the counter analgesic topical solutions that may offer some temporary relief. One possible option is a homeopathic alternative product, like a CBD salve that can be topically applied.

That said, the question that is inevitably raised is, “is there a product that will decrease pain and allow motion to occur more easily”? There are products that can help, but remember, it is balanced movement that helps reduce pain not just a topical solution. On a personal note, I have used Lifegiving Botanicals CBD salve to provide temporary relief by applying the salve to my neck and shoulders prior to playing the piano and singing and have experienced positive results.

By choosing healthy living habits for our mind, body, and soul, and listening to our physicians and following our physical therapy programs to reduce pain, we improve the quality of our movement and living.

Can I be pain free forever?

I think it is fair to say, no medical professional can promise their patient they will be pain-free forever. That would be an unrealistic expectation, especially for aging individuals. Instead, I advise my patients to allow pain to teach you how to move. For example, if mild to moderate pain is present, it can serve as a cue to help you make some postural adjustments.

With musculoskeletal symptoms, pain can signal that something is wrong and needs attention.

In my practice, I often teach musicians to think about pain like this: “When I feel some mild neck pain while playing the piano, 1: Adjust my posture and position to achieve the best efficiency for my body to move.  2: Stop for 2 min to renew: do my home exercises to rebalance the joint and muscle and then begin the activity again”. My program called, Musicians in Balance uses these principles to help musicians practice, play and perform without pain.

Homeopathic solutions like THC-Free CBD products can be one option to help people move and live better in between treatments. While using CBD can give excellent relief, it is the combination of CBD with good health practices like Physical Therapy, exercise and good nutrition that will give you the most benefit.  As always, healthy living breeds healthy living.

As a musician, I experience neck and upper back pain while playing the piano. Using good posture, doing my exercises while also applying CBD salve has helped me practice, play and perform without pain.

With you in mind

My hope is to help my patients and musicians move easier and make beautiful music using a combination of Therapeutic exercise, postural training through neuromuscular re-education, soft tissue massage with the option of CBD salve, and home exercise instruction.

In summary, as a licensed Physical Therapist I help people keep moving even when experiencing pain. It is my hope, that the information above is used to help those living with pain, listen to their “pain cues” and offer tools to effectively balance your movement, leading to a healthier, more productive life.

Hooray for moving easier!

Anne K. Green, PT, is a graduate from the University of Illinois-Chicago as a Licensed Physical Therapist specializing in Orthopedics, Sports rehab and treating Musicians. An accomplished musician herself, Anne has a passion to treat musicians and has developed her own program called Musicians in Balance which focuses on helping musicians’ practice, play and perform without pain.

Anne has over 30 years of experience in orthopedics and manual therapy and brings this expertise to the Lifegiving team.


The views in this document are expressly the opinion of Anne K. Green, PT, and are not meant to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any disease states or medical conditions. Please consult your physician before beginning any CBD therapy. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Buyer is to consume CBD at their own risk. You may contact Anne directly here. Choose ‘Pain Management Questions.’