Muscle and joint pain:
Information and Exercises that help!

Hello and welcome to Painotopia

My name is Jan Lingen. I am a graduate sports scientist and sports therapist, and my aim is to help you.

Is pain what brought you to this page? If so, then you should read on.

I will show you how you can alleviate pain by yourself!

The site is very easy to use.

Select the pain that comes closest to yours from the body below and follow the instructions given.

You can immediately start working on your pain, or even read a little further and learn about a few things you probably never knew.

  • Jan Lingen
  • Sports Scientist (univ.) & Body Therapist
  • info@muskel-und-gelenkschmerzen.de

The most common causes of muscle and joint pain

In about 90% of all cases, muscle and joint pain is caused by misuse or overuse of our body and its muscles.

Overstressing your muscles leads to

  • an irritation of the nervous system—the body’s central control system -,
  • excessive muscle tension,
  • and trigger points.

More generally speaking, it leads to myofascial dysfunctions.

Eventually, excessive muscle tension and trigger points cause pain.

In addition to that, they disrupt the “muscle – joint equilibrium”.

That means: Your muscles pull either too strongly or too weakly on the joints.

What you should expect

Your main objective should be to normalize your muscle tension.

You can do this by massaging certain key muscles yourself. No need to get scared! It is not as difficult as you might imagine.

I’ll lead you step by step through the respective self-massage for each pain symptom.

You will get all the information in a clear and understandable form. Should you encounter any difficulties, simply get in touch with me via my contact page.

So, let’s get started.

So, let’s get started.

Click on the pain symptom of your choice and learn how to get rid of your pain.

If you have a little time and you’re curious, then take the time to read this page to the end.

Here I list a few common mistakes and describe muscle and joint pains. I am sure that you will learn something new there.

What you should know about muscle and joint pain…

Below, I would like to enlighten you about some mistakes that are prevalent in many minds.

Misconceptions about muscle and joint pain: Doctors/therapists will provide you with relief

This is one of the biggest mistakes.

It is not my intention to question the skills and the purpose that doctors or therapists serve. In doing so, I would also be questioning myself and my career choice…

… However, you must know that neither doctors nor therapists can take your pain away— not in the long run anyway.

There is no question that doctors, physiotherapists etc. can relieve your pain, but it’s unwise to think that only they can free you from pain.

They act more as teachers, help with the first steps, and show you options and pathways.

Whether you head down these pathways and follow through to the end is up to you.

As such, therapists and doctors act as catalysts.

They reduce the energy you need to spend in order to achieve changes. Changes that promote the healing of your muscles and joints.

They can accompany you on your way, but cannot “walk it” for you.

In my opinion, your well-being is in your hands, and not in those of others.

If you don’t agree with me on this point, then this website won’t be of great value to you.

If, however, you agree with me and are willing to invest some time in yourself, then I am convinced that you will benefit immensely from the information and exercises I provide.

All I can and will do for you is give you the information you will need for alleviating or even eliminating muscle and joint pain.

Misconceptions about muscle and joint pain: The problem lies there where it hurts

Another misconception is the assumption that the cause of pain is always to be found where you have the pain.

In most cases, especially with muscle and joint pain, the cause can be found in neighbouring or even more distant regions of the body.

Dr. Janet Travell and her colleagues did valuable work by bringing trigger points to the forefront in Western medicine in the 20th century.

This, in and of itself, was nothing new. These points were previously known by other names in the specialist world. However, the outstanding empirical work regarding which trigger points could cause which symptoms, made this known and accessible on a wider scale.

Trigger points are small, often noticeable nodules in our muscles that can cause pain where they are, as well as in other, seemingly uninvolved areas of the body.

An estimated 99% of all people have trigger points somewhere in their muscles that may be “silent” and therefore go undetected for years.

An example

The picture on your right shows the pain zone of the infraspinatus—a muscle on the back of your shoulder blade.

As you can see, trigger points in this muscle can cause pain in the front of the shoulder and in the upper arm.

If this muscle, for example, is responsible for the pain in your upper arm, the exclusive treatment of the arm will be unsuccessful and leave you with nothing but frustration.

It does not matter if pain salves are applied or the massages are done professionally.

If the pain is not tackled at its root, then only temporary improvement, if any, can be expected!

Furthermore, trigger points can affect and perpetuate diseases such as tendinitis, bursitis, nerve pain, tennis elbow and more.

There will be more about that in the next point.

Of course, here on this website I’ll show you where trigger points are located, the symptoms they can cause and how you can get rid of these nodules.

Muscle and joint pain: Misdiagnosis

When people suffer from pain they usually seek medical help or search the internet for explanations.

Often diagnoses such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, tennis elbow, impingement syndrome, etc. are handed down, while trigger points or just too much muscle tension are the actual triggers for the pain.

Of course, the existence of such diseases cannot and should not be denied. Nevertheless, in many cases it is a misdiagnosis.

Dr. Travell, who helped advance the awareness of trigger points, even claimed that most of our everyday pain—headaches, neck pain, knee pain, back pain, etc.—are caused by trigger points and that ignorance has led to many misdiagnoses and mistreatments.

This in no way means that no one should be tested for arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis or similar conditions.

Rather, it emphasizes the importance of trigger points and excessive muscular tension, which are often the causes of pain or triggers it.

Misconceptions about muscle and joint pain: Strength training for fighting pain

The message here is: Muscles not only need to be strengthened but also relaxed.

Strong, healthy muscles that are smooth and elastic, not hard and rigid, are more resistant than untrained muscles. However, exclusively strengthening them is not the answer.

Our muscles should be strong enough to withstand the stresses of everyday life, but …

… In most cases your muscles and joints are painful due to excessive muscle tension and the resulting pulling conditions on the joints, tendons and ligaments.

To combat this pain with strength training alone is like fighting fire with fire.

Why should you increase the tension of an aching structure, if this is/was the decisive factor for the pain?

Apart from that, it leads to no results or only unsatisfactory ones in most cases. Plus, it makes no sense.

A healthy dose, and foresight is the way to reach the goal.

And the goal here is the normalization of the muscle tension and the elimination of trigger points, while strengthening the muscles.

The normalization of the muscle tension can be achieved by training your nervous system, which is the control station for your muscle tension.

This nervous system training is shown here on Painotopia in the form of self-massage.

Please note:

If you lead an inactive lifestyle, then toning your muscles will play a very important role.

Muscle training is definitely recommended, since strong and healthy muscles are more resistant than weak muscles.

In any case, you should always supplement your muscle training with self-massages and stretching in order to keep your body supple.

“You will get older and you will suffer the ravages of time. It is quite normal, that it sometimes hurts. Accept it!”

Muscle and joint pain – an inevitable consequence of ageing?

You have probably heard that many times from the doctor or from friends and acquaintances when you complained about your muscle and joint pain.

In fact, that is a myth that is probably as old as humanity itself.

It certainly is true that the structures of your body break down over time and become weaker.

And although this degeneration process can be slowed, it cannot be stopped.

It is also true that muscle and joint pain are a consequence of ageing. However, it is not true that it is an unavoidable consequence.

On the contrary:

Such pain is often avoidable and even reversible.

It’s all a question of our lifestyle, how we spend our time, and better still—how we age.

There is an important difference in whether we age actively or passively and infuse our daily lives with lots of movement and new learning or waste away in front of the TV and become stultified.

The trigger points and the excessive muscle tension mentioned previously are a consequence of the abuse we perpetuate on our bodies.

Such abuse can occur in various forms. All forms of abuse hold in common the fact that they reflect an extreme.

“Extreme inactivity”, and excessive physical training—especially with the “No Pain, No Gain” attitude—is harmful to our muscles and joints.

Muscles and joints should not be kept in the same position for a long time. And they should not be constantly stressed without taking breaks and compensating.

Both scenarios—inactivity and excessive activity—lead to an excess of muscle tension, trigger points, and ultimately to pain, if no adequate compensation is made.