Back pain and emotional pain

Back pain and muscle damage

Eric Johnson is worried about his professional cricket career after experiencing an injury. He questions the time frame of his return to the game and secretly wonders if he will ever be able to return.

Most hamstring injuries are connected with lower back injuries or dysfunctions. This is the case with Eric Johnson. He has experienced chronic lower back issues, and these issues have affected his left hamstring. Recently, he had scans done to his left hamstring, and the results were promising. Still, he is dealing with pain and reduced mobility that minimizes his ability to run and bat, and has put in doubt his ability to successfully complete the first test.

Since I have not personally assessed Johnson, it would be impossible for me to provide an accurate diagnosis regarding his hamstring pain. It is extremely possible that his hamstring pain is in fact referred pain from his spine. There may be scar tissue, muscle damage, or nerve irritation. Or there could be other factors altogether causing the pain.

One thing that is certain is that once an athlete experiences an injury, their risk for re-injury increases. This is true of three injuries that occur in the same part of the body, or re-injuries that occur in other parts of the body. In Johnson’s case, the injury he suffered may be directly linked to his increased risk for injuring his hamstring. That in turn leads to increased risk of back injuries. Something that is notable about Johnson’s injuries is that the last two times he injured his back and hamstring, these injuries took place during normal, non-stressful movements that any professional athlete should be able to perform.

In Johnson’s case, it may be good to look for additional reasons behind the injuries he suffered. From a physical standpoint, everything seems okay. As we have already stated, the movements that led to Johnson injuring his back and right hamstring were innocuous. They were movements that every athlete, or every healthy person, should be able to perform without injury. This led me to look outside of the physical reasons for Johnson’s injury and to begin to explore some emotional stresses that might have led up to his injury.

Johnson has been battling with some emotional issues following recent tragedies he has experienced. In addition to the stress created by these tragedies, there was also the stress that accompanied his doubts as to whether or not he would be healthy enough to play in the First Test. It is possible that the injuries he is experiencing in his back and in his hamstring are in fact his body reacting to mental and emotional stress. It could be his mind’s way of crying out for a break. We at New York Dynamic Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Center agree that it is possible that the combination of mental, emotional, and physical stress he has been going through for the past few weeks has led to these injuries.

Thankfully, Johnson will have some forced time off that will allow him to recover from the mental, physical, and emotional bombardment he has experienced. Hopefully, Johnson will be able to return and play at the high level he did previously once he has had time to recover.


In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)


Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)


Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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