“If it’s not their ass it’s their elbow.”


Dr. John De Noyelles, PT, OCS, CSCS

A client of mine said this. I can’t take credit for it and please don’t hold me responsible for the foul language. She took an old saying and modified it to convey how her clients describe their current aches and pains. My client, although not in a healthcare profession, provides more competent healthcare advice than Google (and probably many licensed healthcare providers). She’s also been handing out my business card left and right because she has been on the receiving end of competent manual therapy.

Pain comes in many forms and is ALWAYS a different experience for each and every person. It is an individual experience. Every working day, my client has a conversation with someone describing what ails them. “It’s always something… if it’s not their ass it’s their elbow,” she says. I understand what she’s saying: people are in pain and either can’t find relief or accept it for what it is. Let me be clear: pain is not normal. Here are a few client populations I see who carry this common sentiment and the reason, I believe, that sentiment is inaccurate:

  • “I’m old (or getting old)”: Someone should not be in pain simply because they are aging. Seek conservative treatment (physical therapy) and make yourself more functional. Don’t use pain, stiffness, etc. as an excuse for not doing the things you love. The active approach involves a call to us.
  • “I’m an athlete, things are supposed to hurt”: Although constant, year-round athletics with no rest may be a burden on our bodies, it doesn’t mean we have to suffer through it. Pain is a warning signal that something is not right. A movement pattern may be dysfunctional and treatment can be the key to unlocking your full potential.
  • “I have a job with heavy physical requirements”: Sure, repetitive, laborious work will likely lead to aches and pains, whether you’re sitting at a computer 40 hours a week or slinging tires across a local tire garage all day, every day. I’ve seen both extremes. Don’t deal with what you may think is normal pain because of what you do on a daily basis. Again, pain is not normal. Take the active approach with conservative therapy. Let us find your dysfunction and address it so that your daily activities are performed in a more efficient and less stressful manner.
  • “But I have arthritis”: For more on this please read THIS.

If it’s not your ass but your elbow, and especially “if you don’t know your ass from your elbow,” then take the active approach and seek conservative treatment. A thorough physical therapy examination is needed and a physician (MD) prescription is not typically necessary. Give us a call and we will help you get on the road to recovery.

Dr. John De Noyelles, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS


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