What many healthcare professionals arent telling you…
Every healthcare practitioner who works with musculoskeletal pain and injury (Chiros, Physios, Massage Therapists, Osteos etc) will tell you they provide results that last (honestly, what kind of professional wouldnt tell you they provide the best service?). They will tell you their treatments work and that your chronic pain can be solved through their ‘insert hands on treatment modality’. Generally, it all starts well and the pain subsides, but after the 6th/7th/8th appointment the improvements stop, the symptoms come back and you are back to square one.
I used to be a practitioner who sold long term results with my ‘magical hands’. But that all stopped when I became the one with the chronic lower back pain. All of a sudden the tables had turned and I was now the one laying face down on the treatment table, the practitioner had become the patient.
I saw ‘the best’ Chiros, Physios and Massage therapists all who provided me with excellent hands, short term care and all who genuinely cared for my well being. However, my short term pain was not my concern, I was wanting a long term solution, I wanted to get back to exercise, back to driving without back pain, back to being able to stand at the pub with my mates and enjoy a beer without having to sit down after 5 minutes.
What I came to realize was that short term modalities such as hands on therapies (soft tissue work, manipulation, dry needling etc etc) and simple non challenging exercises (stretching, mobility, activation exercises) provide short term relief ONLY. Their role is to provide short term changes so you can cope better for the next few hours or days.
So what gets long term results?
I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a strength and conditioning coach who knew all of this. My results ultimately came from someone who wasnt specifically trained in musculoskeletal care (ironic), however, he knew that to get the body to change we must learn to alter its ‘perception’ of what is painful and slowly build back up the qualities of strength and movement variability.
This approach is inline with the current research;
- Have an achievable plan of action
- Developing strength and capacity
- Learning to move in different ways
And are essential to create changes at the local tissues (site of pain) as well as centrally at the nervous system which leads to long term change.
This graph below is one that I show many patients, that we can provide short term relief and that is beneficial, however, once the pain is gone (or at least tolerable) we MUST be putting in the effort to change how we move, to become stronger and more resilient and to address other aspects of our health that may impact our pain experience. We call this ‘above the line’ treatment and this includes, exercise, strength, resilience as well as addressing social and environmental changes.
The issues most healthcare practitioners face is that their systems and education do not prepare them to provide long term results. I had to go back to Uni and do another Masters degree (Masters of Exercise Science (Strength & Conditioning)) to develop an understanding of how to get a body to adapt for long term change, this information is not provided in current Chiropractic and Physiotherapy courses.
So what arent healthcare practitioners telling you?
They arent telling you that their hands on treatments are only going to provide short term results as many dont have the knowledge or systems to implement movement and exercise strategies that have been shown to be the most effective way to resolve chronic pain.
So what to do if you are experiencing chronic pain?
Find a practitioner who focuses on exercise, who will give you a clear plan of action and will support you throughout your recovery… Or just book in at Scope (shameless plug!) as this is what our entire business was built to do.