Learning about why and how people have pain was something I put off because of constantly being told it was out of my scope.
Even though TREATING pain is out of my scope, working with people who have it, is definitely not.
I’ve had to learn how to work around it, how to communicate with them, and most importantly, talk them out of maladaptive beliefs they’ve picked up by other trainers, therapist, and practitioners.
Maladaptive beliefs like thinking the amount of pain they’re experiencing equals the amount of damage that is occurring. Believing they have vertebras crushing together or joints out of place after going through a palpatory assessment. And the worst one, thinking their body is so fragile they constantly need a practitioner to put their joints or discs back in place.
The words other professionals use have left my clients and loved ones scared of moving, scared of lifting, and in some instances possibly left with unnecessary pain.
I’m not sure why my client’s neck pain started increasing, but I can’t help but wonder if it had anything to do with her chiro’s comment on how her arthritis in her neck was getting much worse after he touched the area with his hands.
It’s hard to determine how much arthritis contributes to someone’s pain. Someone could be bone on bone and could experience zero symptoms. On top of that, there’s no way of assessing how progressive someone’s arthritis is without imaging. For a chiro to say that to her is just flat out wrong.
I’m not sure why my client’s back pain increased, but I can’t help but wonder if it had anything to do with the exaggerated reaction the neurologist gave her when he saw her MRI.
MRI results don’t always match the symptoms a person may feel. You could have two people with meniscus tears one could have symptoms and one could have zero pain, but both would have the same MRI results.
I’m not sure why my client has kept the same weight for her floor press for the last two years, but I can’t help but wonder if it had anything to do with her physical therapist telling her that shoulder blade protraction could injure her shoulder.
The lack of knowledge on pain within the rehab, medical and fitness industry needs an upgrade because I’m sick of all the maladaptive beliefs being put in people’s heads.
YOUR WORDS MATTER.
Your words could destroy someone’s quality of life, they could send people into unnecessary pain, it could send people to a surgery that was not needed.
Your words could really fuck some people up and I see it happening every single day. Just two weeks ago I heard of a professional assessing one of my student’s neck and they yelled out “HOW ARE YOU EVEN LIVING?!”
Are you serious?!? How are you even living?? GTFOH.
I hope you can start seeing why I’m frustrated. I’m also hoping you’re feeling a little frustrated too because then you’re more likely to do something about it.
How can we start changing how to we talk to people in pain? How can we better serve our post rehab clients and create a world that is less threatening for them?
The answer to all those questions:
You can’t send a client to an MD or PT every time something feels unpleasant for them. You also can’t let your clients feel broken and fragile because of the words other people have used. You need to learn about pain, even if it’s out of your scope to treat it. You need to learn why it happens, how it happens, when it’s time to refer out, and when to calm the person down.
My education started with Zac Cupples.
We set up a couple movement consultations with him last year and by watching him talk to my clients out of their maladaptive beliefs made me realize there is a HUGE need for his information to be known. Not just in the fitness industry, EVERY industry. Doctors, massage therapist, chiros, trainers, yoga instructors.…everyone is guilty. Including myself. Young Lucy totally told clients that they had an anterior pelvic tilt that would cause back pain and neck pain.
So if you’re frustrated seeing your clients suffer, you want to learn about pain, and you want to better serve these people, start following Zac.
He’s got a online presentation on Pain and it’s totally free!
He also has written a couple of articles that help you work with these people:
Here’s a warning though, once you start learning all this you’re going to start getting frustrated and reach out to me to say “OMG! Soo many people are being misguided and mismanaged! All these professionals are putting ideas into my clients heads!”
Or maybe not. Maybe I’m just an angry person.
To sum everything up:
- YOUR WORDS MATTER.
- If you work with people, It IS your business to learn about pain.
Until next time ?