Q: How can back and joint pain be prevented in the first place?

A: I have a general principle that can explain what causes pain and other symptoms. Strength=Function. What this means is that when people want to perform a functional activity, ultimately, it is muscle that allows the individual to perform the task. If the muscle is too weak, there will be a break down in the mechanism that attempted to perform the activity. This can present as pain, swelling, an altered sensation, weakness or lack of function.

The problem with traditional medical practices is that the focus is on the symptom. Most doctors try determine how they can mask the symptom through treatments such as cortisone shots, epidural never blocks or medications. In my practice, however, once a symptom is created, the first question is to determine what caused the symptom. I am sure if all doctors asked this question, it would be found that the cause was weakness associated with performing an activity. For people who are somewhat unconditioned, activities that create symptoms can be as benign as climbing stairs or walking for a short distance.

Prevention of pain can be accomplished by utilizing strength training to achieve proper strength, flexibility and balance of all musculature. This will allow functional activities to be performed without creating a symptom.

Follow Mitchell's weekly column as he answers common questions surrounding the causes, prevention, treatment, and management of various symptoms.

Mitchell Yass is a licensed Physical Therapist, founder of PT2 Physical Therapy and Personal Training, and author of Overpower Pain: The Strength Training Program that Stops Pain without Drugs or Surgery. His pain resolution program is helping thousands of people avoid unnecessary drugs and surgery, freeing them from pain indefinitely.For more information, visit: http://www.mitchellyass.com/