Chronic Pain Video

The Problem with Dogmatic Physical Therapy and Fitness Content – How it makes chronic pain worse!

The Problem with Dogmatic Physical Therapy and Fitness Content

Fitness and physical therapy content are really popular right now. I see two distinct styles of content.

One style is non-dogmatic and tends to describe a problem and offer a solution without making claims about a one-size-fits-all approach or root cause.

On the flip side, dogmatic content makes assertions about a one-size-fits-all solution that is based on a proposed universal root cause.

If we dig deeper, this content is often being created by individuals who have taken this information authority. The venue in which they learned is often a weekend seminar. Also, they usually haven’t been educated at a graduate level or have a professional degree. (Nothing wrong with these)

The reason I mention these two points is that when you are educated at a graduate level, you have been exposed to in-depth literature review and ethical considerations. On the flip side, these individuals aren’t held to the same professional standards. (They don’t have a professional license to protect and don’t take an ethical oath as part of licensure).

The problem with this is that when you are in chronic pain, you are searching for the approach or method to fill a gap that will help you heal.

When someone describes a problem you are experiencing in great detail, you assume they have the solution.

When that solution is presented as based on an absolute truth or universal root cause, it initially provides a sense of clarity and relief. In the context of movement, this typically looks like this:

-You are in ____ pattern, ____ position, or doing _____ movement
-To counteract this, you need to do _____ movement or get into _____ pattern because of _____ root cause

The problem with this is that if you believe these claims to be absolutely universally true, you’ll categorize the suggested movements, patterns, or positions as “good,” “correct,” or “safe.”

You’ll get initial positive results because the brain will associate these position with safety. Threat detection in the brain goes down, as less pain and symptoms are produced.

However, at the same time, our usual positioning or patterning gets characterized as “incorrect,” “bad,” or “dangerous.” When we get back into old positions or patterns, threat detection goes up and the brain is more likely to produce pain.

And worse yet, on a longer time scale, we start to use these new positions as a set point for overall nervous system regulation. We start to become hyper-vigilant as to whether we are in a correct or good position, so that even when we are in the “right” position, the overall level of threat is increased.

Over time, the new positions that were once working also produce pain. We start to think that we are doing the movements incorrectly because they worked in the beginning but not now.

This causes us to go down further rabbit holes trying to find new information on the “correct” positions or movements. When we consume more of the same content, we get short term relief from the anxiety and threat. We convince ourselves that we have found the new answer.

This cycle continues to repeat. Meanwhile, we can start to limit our activities for fear of being in the “wrong” positions or patterns. This overall limits our function, resiliency, and participation in life’s activities.

Now the other problem with this content is that it only focuses on the physical aspect of our experience. This is at best short-sighted.

If you’ve been suffering from chronic pain, you understand that pain affects every part of your experience.

It not only affects how you move, but also how you:

-Think
-Feel
-Connect
-Believe

Movement is important but it is just one pillar.

I suffered from chronic pain for 10+ years and tried to find a physical solution to my physical symptoms. However, it wasn’t until I took an inventory of all the other aspects of my experience that I was able to fully heal and become symptom and pain free.

Taking inventory of and addressing these 5 pillars is exactly what I help individuals do inside my intensive 1-on-1 movement coaching program.

So if you’ve been using movement to heal from chronic pain and know you are a missing something, go to https://chaplinperformance.com and fill out an application to see if you are a good fit for 1-on-1 coaching.

If you don’t think 1-on-1 coaching is good for you but still want to benefit from this approach, send me an email at greg@chaplinperformance.com with PAIN-FREE in the subject line to reserve a slot in my brand new self-paced group movement coaching program set to launch in Spring 2023.

The first 20 members will get a significant discount on the full price. Don’t wait to reserve your slot!

00:00 – Intro
00:31 – Dogmatic vs. Non-Dogmatic Content
02:25 – The Problem with Dogmatic Content
04:35 – A More Holistic Approach