I’ve been trying to write a post on how I got back to running for a number of weeks now. A sort of checklist of the things that fell into place to get me back to an activity I had avoided for over 5 years. An activity that I once loved, sorely missed, and erroneously believed I could never do again. The problem with the post is is that it’s not a post. It’s my book. It’s everything. There was no step 1, step 2, step 3. How do you capture that in a “how-to”?

So that post is on hold until I can wrap my head around what it needs to be.

Questioning the story we tell ourselves

What I do know, though, is that one of the necessary steps that got me back on the trail, one of the most important steps in successfully changing pain, was challenging my beliefs and confronting my fears and worries surrounding my hip and my pain. It was coming to a new understanding and putting that new understanding to the test.

And I’ve done a pretty bang up job. My understanding of pain has changed immensely, I’ve overcome fears of movements I had avoided for years because I was worried about the pain getting worse or reinjuring my hip,  I’ve been able to get back to being active, playing, and doing things I enjoy. I snowboard, I hike, I practice yoga, I even run now.

But I don’t lift weights. *sigh*

So the job isn’t completed yet. Just when I was riding high and thought I had changed my beliefs and overcome my fears, I’ve had to question my way of thinking about my hip and my pain and confront some unfounded fears and worries once again. Fears and worries that I kind of swept under the carpet.

A meaningful conversation

Challenging our beliefs, questioning the story we’re telling ourselves, isn’t easy to do. As such, I didn’t come to this current challenge on my own, it was the result of an amazing chat I had with Simon Roost Kirkegaard – a physiotherapist from Denmark who also attended the San Diego Pain Summit – on Facebook (oh, the power of social media!).

Our exchange started out about a guest post I had written on Take Hold of Pain’s blog and Simon noting that my improvements have come as I’ve become empowered and more self-efficacious in dealing with my pain experience. He was very kind, complimentary about my successes, and gently probed my pain experience with just a couple questions.

A couple questions that quite honestly changed things a great deal for me.

Get outside and enjoy a sunset Challenging my beliefs and confronting my fears got me out of my small world of pain, and into this beautiful, wider world

He asked if I still had pain.

Little did Simon know he was opening up a gigantic can of worms (or should I say words? As you know by now, I’m never short of words). I replied that I still have pain, but that I’m no longer IN pain. Though it may seem like it’s just semantics, the differentiation is quite meaningful to me. Pain is no longer the world that I’m at the center of. It’s still there, but it’s not a focal point, it’s just sort of running in the background now.

Pain can very definitely come to the foreground,  though, like when I start paying undue attention to it because my stress levels have gone up, and so my anxiety goes up, or I flare-up because I’ve been sitting in a traffic jam or I pushed too hard through an activity. At those times I might be IN pain for a bit but, nowadays, I don’t worry so much about it, I know I’m not in danger, and I get on with it and get over it. It goes back into the background, just a part of life, not the whole of life.

But pain is definitely still a part of my life. And though I say all the time that it no longer defines me, I do still identify by it. And I do still have worries, concerns, fears, and anxieties concerning it, even when I think I’ve overcome them. I’m not beating myself up over this, just acknowledging it.

He asked what factors I thought played a role in my system becoming so sensitized.

This answer is really a whole ‘nother post but the gist of it was that I was in all-consuming pain for a couple years that kept getting worse, despite interventions including physical therapy and surgery.  I was incredibly stressed out. I had financial stress because my income was more than halved and my husband had been laid off to boot.

Being in the work comp system was a particularly awful experience. Care was always delayed. I always felt doubted and like I was always fighting for treatment and then waiting for approvals and then waiting for appointments. My doctor’s recommendations often got denied, including for seemingly simple things like more physical therapy. The biggest issue, perhaps, was that I had so many restriction, thoughs: NO lifting, NO squatting, NO climbing, NO prolonged sitting, NO awkward positions. NO NO NO.

Those NOs insidiously became a part of my beliefs about what I could and couldn’t do.

I thought pain meant damage, therefore ongoing pain meant ongoing damage. Further, I thought that the pain (and perceived damage) was a result of my poor postures and wrong movements, that I wasn’t doing this pain thing right. Naturally I feared movement to some degree. I was incredibly anxious and worried.

I eventually medically retired, losing my identity and becoming withdrawn from friends and family.

Talk about emotional maelstrom and ramped up threat. No wonder my systems were on edge.

But I had worked through much of that. Simon noted that I’ve already been facing some of my fears and that I’ve been walking a successful path through this changing pain stuff. But that maybe there was more I could do. One more thing that might help me make huge leaps forward in confidence, strength, and pain.

He mentioned lifting weights

Alert, alert! I’m under threat!

That’s what happened to me when I thought about lifting weights again. Even though I used to be a heavy lifter, as I had to be in order to perform my job duties as a firefighter. Even though I used to train at pretty high intensities. But that all changed after my injury and my surgery. I had all the NOs I had to abide by for one thing, but I was also scared. Not just scared, terrified. There was no way my hip could handle such a thing again.

Or could it?

I wholly believe that pain science education, which helps remove some of the fear and uncertainty surrounding the pain experience, combined with an empathetic ear, reassurance, and validation that the pain is real can go a long way toward someone successfully changing their pain. It’s these things that unlock the door to movement and movement unlocks the door to everything else that successfully changes the pain experience.

I had thought my door was unlocked and open. I was snowboarding, hiking, practicing yoga, and now I was even running. Success! And it is success. But it wasn’t the pinnacle. I’m not done yet. (Thank monkeys! How boring would life be if I was done? If this was as good as it gets?) My door wasn’t quite open all the way.

I was still afraid of lifting weights. Not a voiced fear, mind you, it was more that I just ignored it altogether. It made me uneasy so I avoided it.

He talked about low confidence and smudged maps

Simon mentioned that for many of his persistent pain patients there is a low level of confidence in the injured or painful body part in addition to (combined with? as a result of?) the body maps in the cortex being smudged.

I’m going to talk more about body maps and smudging in the next post where I actually outline what I did and what changed after this exchange. But suffice it to say for now that every part of our body has a neural representation in the brain with a bit of brain space devoted to it.

The space devoted to each body part isn’t proportional to our actual bodies, though, some parts, such as the hands or the lips, have much larger brain representations than larger body parts, like the legs or the trunk.

What we think happens with pain

Those neural representations, those maps, can get distorted or smudged when we’ve been in pain for a long time (for a great explanation on smudging, check out this video). That smudging is thought to contribute to pain persistence, so it stands to reason that if we can unsmudge the maps, we can change the pain.

In order to regain confidence in the body part of interest we have to have a clear representation of that body part in our body maps. To reestablish accurate maps, we have to face our fears and challenge our beliefs about the painful area. And if we find that our beliefs were not accurate, that our fear was unfounded, we have to test out a new belief system and set the maps right.

One very effective way of doing so is through strength training and lifting weights.

So here I was again, having to face another fear. Having to challenge my beliefs. And having to own up to those fears and beliefs.

*sigh*

He asked “what’s the worst that could happen if you lifted weights?”

As I mentioned, I’d been avoiding really thinking about this, but through some gentle prodding, I really had to think about and give voice to my fears and worries. Which I knew were unrealistic but which I held on to anyway.

My greatest fear was of reinjury. Of the pain returning full force. Of the damage recurring. My worry was that my femur wasn’t stable in the hip joint, there are times I feel it knocking around in there. I was also worried that my hip joint itself wasn’t stable. It was operated on, after all! Tissues were altered; bone, cartilage, muscle, connective tissue. It’s different in there. I was worried that loading it would cause some sort of catastrophic failure.

Simon reframed my (much longer than presented here) answer to ensure he and I both understood what I was trying to say and summed it up, correctly, as fearing that my hip may not be able to carry my weight and that it wasn’t stable or strong. I indicated he was correct.

I still didn’t have full confidence in my hip. Despite all the activities that I know it’s held up just fine under. So, naturally:

He asked: “If your hip was weak and unstable, would you be able to snowboard? Or run?”

I’ve been snowboarding for two years, running again for two months. The answers were no and no.

wpid-3695.jpeg

In 2014 I snowboarded again for the first time in 5 years.  I had to challenge, then change, my beliefs and fears about my pain and my hip. 

I knew where this was going…

He asked: “So you can run, but you can’t lift heavy weights?”

I knew the answer was no but I was still hesitant. So he asked me to just look at hip strength from an objective point of view, through what I’d learned in biomechanics about running and mechanical forces through the hip joint.

This forced me to admit that, even at my slow speeds, my hip is withstanding forces many times my body weight with each stride every time I go out for a run.

It forced me to recognize that, in fact, my hip is quite stable and strong.

Simon’s gentle reply was, “there is no way around this fact really is there?”

Nope. Nope there isn’t.

And the next logical step then is to test this new reality. To nudge my fear a bit, my unfounded fear, and lift some weights.

It may not seem like it in this little bit of text, but this had a HUGE impact on me. By challenging my beliefs in a non-confrontational/non-threatening manner and asking me to really explore why I thought my hip was weak and unstable, and asking me to provide my own evidence that was contrary to those thoughts, he was able to guide me to a much different understanding of my hip, of my pain, and of my capabilities.

My hip is much stronger than I believed it to be. It’s much more stable than I believed it to be.

This shift made me dive back into Todd Hargrove’s book, Better Movement (sidebar: he’ll be a speaker at the 2016 San Diego Pain Summit – go sign up! – the 2015 Summit changed my life as a patient but it’s geared toward practitioners). I’d read his book before, and thought I understood it, but now my understanding has been taken to a whole ‘nother level.

I’ve made a shift from going through the motions to being the motion.

And I had another major breakthrough. For the first time in over 5 years, my hip feels like it’s my hip. This may not make sense to some of you folks, but for a long, long, time my hip has felt ‘other’. Like it’s not quite mine. (I know it’s mine, it just doesn’t feel like it belongs. This is a thing, it’s not just me, I swear).

This is huge.

I cannot thank Simon enough for taking the time to walk me through all of this. This is a game changer (a pain changer!).

And if you’re interested in the follow-up – check out how I didn’t really follow up but still succeeded :)

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15 Responses to "Changing pain: challenging my fears and beliefs about lifting weights"

  1. Thanks for this..I Know this works for people..It just continues to be such a big hurdle to get people to start to reconceptualize, but it helps to see how this has helped in your situation.

    Yesterday I had a guy who was very focused on his facet joints in his neck being locked and arthritic. When he was upright he was painfully restricted turning and side bending his neck, but when I lied him down and did it for him he had full pain free motion. Pain science explained this well and he seemed to understand if his joints were locked and bad they would always hurt and not move. But of course his chiro who he has been seeing for three months insists its “all locked up”.Its challenging but seeing it work for you helps me keep on working at it.

    Thanks again

    • Thank you for the comments, Keith. It’s definitely not easy to get people to start to reconceptualize and it takes time. I have been exposed to this knowledge for a long time and I’m pretty knowledgeable in pain science, much more so than most patients, I would think, and it still took me a long time to get here in regards to this particular belief and fear. So don’t give up!

      What I think was different about my interaction with Simon, the difference that lead to such a profound change in my way of thinking, was that the reconceptualization came as a result of guided discovery. He didn’t tell me anything, he asked questions that led me to telling myself what he wanted me to realize and understand. I had to give voice to my fears and actually put into words what I thought was happening in my hip or that could happen in my hip if I loaded it. By having to voice it, it made me think about it differently and more critically. Then he helped me to provide my own evidence against my belief that I would reinjure myself or induce damage by talking about the things that I do on regular basis that load the hip and don’t cause injury or damage. Then I had to admit that my belief that my hip was weak and unstable was erroneous in light of my own evidence to the contrary. Then I had to test the new belief that my hip is in fact strong and stable.

      Also the talk of cortical maps and the changes that happen as a result of pain in our neural representations of our body helped me a great deal, too. It helped me to stop focusing on my hip and to start focusing on the map. Even though the map is literally in my head, it still provided me with an external focus as opposed to my normal hip-centered internal focus. When I would focus on my hip during movement it always came with expectations of pain, a hitch, a catch, a limitation, a restriction, a feeling of stuckness. And lo and behold, my expectations would be confirmed. When I focused externally, thinking about the maps and how I wanted my hip motion to be represented there – smooth, natural, symmetrical to my other hip, pain-free – I didn’t have those same hitches/restrictions/stuckness that I had before.

      This challenging of beliefs and providing evidence to the contrary can be down with movement, too. There’s been good success in neck pain patients who have pain upon turning the head in a seated or standing position and their sensory stimulation is altered – they close their eyes to remove the visual information and the therapists hands are lightly placed on the head, neck or shoulders to provide tactile stimulation and sense of safety – and their asked to turn their head again. Even just removing the visual information can be enough to get more range without pain in turning the head because the can’t use that information to expect when the pain will start. Through guided questions and guided movement in this manner, the patient can be guided to challenge what they think they know about their pain and prove themselves wrong.

      I don’t know if that all makes sense! But it’s my attempt at insights as to why/how this worked for me this time.

      I feel for you and can’t imagine some of the obstacles you face when trying to improve patient outcomes and help them to change their story of themselves. It definitely doesn’t help to have other ‘experts’ (said w-with a cringe) providing bad, nocebic, information.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and share your own experiences, it helps guide me, too!

      • Jo, very good reflections, I think you are right on. I also really appreciate this sentence: “When I focused externally, thinking about the maps and how I wanted my hip motion to be represented there – smooth, natural, symmetrical to my other hip, pain-free – I didn’t have those same hitches/restrictions/stuckness that I had before.” It sounds like a skilled use of mental imagery, which I think is very powerful.

        • Thank you so much, Kerima. And I do believe your right, though I have no particular training in mental imagery I have given a go a couple times. This way of thinking about things just clicked for me though and it was easier for me to image than my previous attempts. And I think that shifting my focus to an external one was the clincher, I think I tend to focus more internally, on the muscles and joints and the movement rather than the movement outcome, if that makes sense. So thinking of the global movement goal rather than the individual components helped me a great deal!

          I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment and provide your insights. I’m going to get out some old texts I have on sport psychology that have chapters on mental imagery.

          Great to hear from you!

  2. I have been working on that..when I first came to pain science way of thinking a while back it was so exciting to me and made so much sense I wanted to tell all my clients about it and I think most of them thought I was insane.

    Acting as a guide rather than a repairman is how I try to be now..but so many people even when you get them to think about it are so far from understanding, or they get close and someone with bad info reinforces their old thought process it can be challenging. I understand the changing contexts and even after showing patients this and asking them how they think this could happen if they are “locked up” they still hang on to that way of thinking…But it will come with more knowledge and reinforcement. Although I was frustrated today when I helped someone and I thought they were getting some understanding then she asked me to pop it back in..

    Thanks for sharing your information though..it helps me stay on the road.

    • I know that feeling! I really like that analogy of being a guide rather than a repairman. And remember, you can only guide patients as far as their willing to go and that is something that they have to decide for themselves. I know how difficult it must be for you when they aren’t ready to come further. But don’t give up on them. So much is about consistency (to the extent you can control, obviously you can’t do much about the inconsistent messages they receive elsewhere) and trust. Most of the time folks have lived with pain for a long time, so they’ve had a long time to establish and reinforce their currently held beliefs. It’s human nature to not want to change our beliefs because our beliefs are in integral part of our story, our identity.

      I’ve talked before about how I knew a lot of the pain science stuff for a long time before I lived it, but that it was like that knowledge, those ideas, had to marinate for a bit in my brain and be reinforced bit by bit over time through reading, talking with pain science folks, etc. I didn’t make these changes over night. Nor will many (all?) of your patients, it’s not a failure on your part.

      Helping to guide people to change their stories, their beliefs about their pain, their understanding of themselves, is no small task, it’s not just fixing a broken part. And if you have a patient that continues to hang on to their old way of thinking, you’ve still planted the seed of a new way of thinking. If they don’t make the change now, under your care, that seed is still there, marinating, waiting for the time when the patient is ready and the idea will finally take hold. That change would only be possible because you planted that seed now.

      Stay the course, my friend! It’s not an easy road, but it’s an honorable one!

    • Hi Keith

      I may translate some blogposts I did in Danish that may provide you with some tools to address this issue.

      But I would like to present a simple suggestion that possibly could aid you in your endeavours.

      I assume you use some kind of education but before you use this education you could ask them why they think they have their pain. Their answer will guide you on how to approach them. 99,9999% of the worlds population has an understanding of pain as an indicator of tissue injury (I have no studies on this “fact”).

      So what I do first is setting the premise for understanding the world. Most of us agree that if we observe something many times we would see a pattern and create a belief.
      In Denmark we only have white swans so if what color is a swan everyone asks white. They do this even if they know black swans exist in Australia and New Zealand. They also agree that if one gets new knowledge that they would update their understanding of what the world looks like. Then we agree that we can come up with 12412412414 examples of situations in life where we have experienced pain and tissue damage at the same time – maybe voicing some examples. I then tell them one way science tries to come closer to the “truth” is through falsification which basically means we try to disprove what we already believe. Look at it this way if I have 123114131 examples that what I believe is true then its quite annoying if some dude comes along and says “yeah thats what but how does it explain this example?” and my theory can’t explain it because that would prove that my theory or understanding would be incorrect or incomplete. So it is much more efficient to disprove theories when possible.

      So my understanding of what you told me was that pain is due to tissue damage and tissue damage causes pain and thats how it is. What if we tried to disprove that theory?

      Then I let them disprove it and ask them for examples for experiences or examples of pain without tissue damage and damage without pain.

      After they have proven their own understanding wrong they are often much more interested and willing to learn something new. Of course there are many ways and this is just one I use – hope it is helpful :)

      Kind regards,

      Simon

      • Thank you for sharing this, Simon. I know it will be valuable to other folks reading this, too. And I know I’m not a practitioner but I would love to read your blogposts if you ever translate them! Your approach to working with people in pain really resonates with me and I know I could learn a lot more from you, as can we all.

        Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and some of your approach with us, it’s greatly appreciated!

        On another note – I’m trying to write up the rest of our conversations and it’s SO long, it’s going to have to be a couple posts. I came to a lot of realizations through that discussion and I want those to come through, too. I always worry about being too wordy but I think it all matters – to look into the mind of a patient isn’t as easy as “7 things to get out of pain!” – this process hasn’t been neatly bundled up for me, it’s a messy, convoluted, difficult process and I think it’s important for folks to know that!

  3. Hi Joletta

    Thank you for this very well written blogpost and mentioning me. It is wonderful work you do and you have a gift explaning complex pain science in very understandable terms and how you implement them.

    It’s a step in the right direction and if we are enough walking this path maybe one day patients expect to get an updated treatment that empowers them and increases their self-efficacy instead of always searching for a fix-me.

    As Keith mentions it is so difficult to reconceptualize pain because there are so many social, cultural and personal obstacles. Patient expect something very different or get incorrect information from so many sources that they don’t know who to trust.

    Clinical setting and salery doesn’t always allow for careful, caring, empathic listening and a thorough history and maybe examination (I personally rarely use any assessment besides asking what it is patients can’t do and what they would like to do). My first time sessions are often 1,5 to 2 hours long and sometimes even longer. When Joletta and I has our chat that evening we chatted for maybe 3 hours on and off.

    Having time, getting time is important. You can’t rush this it has to come naturally to the patient and you need to lea them down the paths they can’t see. You can tell them and maybe you are lucky and that works but if you can guide or remove their blindfolds they become so much more empowered and much more likely to change direction. That is my opinion not aware if there is any research on this besides that we as humans prefer our own ideas :)

    • This wouldn’t have been possible without you, Simon, I could never thank you enough. I’m happy that I’ve been able to convey our conversation in a way that seems to resonate with people as I’ve gotten a very positive response from it. I think this is a unique opportunity for us to provide some valuable insights in what it takes to successfully change pain that will benefit both patients and practitioners. I have the second post in the works for next week!

      I also want to thank you for replying to Keith’s comments and providing your perspective from PT to PT. Only you guys know the constraints, the needs, and the possibilities on your side of the patient-practitioner equation and I think there is great value in sharing ideas, frustrations, questions, best practices, and successes with one another. It does seem that time is the critical element that allows the caring, empathetic listening to take place and gives the patient the room to come to these conclusions without being rushed.

      The time you spent with me was invaluable, Simon. And we did no assessments or hands-on manipulations, which are so often thought to be the most important parts of physical therapy, yet I had a fundamental shift in my thinking and my approach. I am no newbie to this all, I have been in and out of PT for almost 6 years and have never had anyone talk to me about my pain the way you did. And we didn’t really talk about the pain at all, we talked about my beliefs and my fears. And by addressing my beliefs and fears, and not directly addressing the pain, it allowed me to look at the whole thing differently.

      I hope that makes sense. We humans are fascinatingly (and fearsomely at times) complex beings. There’s no easy answers. But that makes helping individuals find their answers that much more meaningful.

      I hope I continue to do our conversation justice in the next post!

      • Hi Jo

        It makes very much sense to me :)

        One factor which I believe is important is that you are open to change in beliefs. It can be very difficult to help people when they are forced to seek this help. Before I had my own clinic some of my patients were referred to me and “had” to see me. My success rate with these patients was much lower though I had occasional success’. This is actually what made it possible for me to start my own business. The occasional success was more than anyone else had been able to so I got a little bit “known”.

        I talk a lot of pain science and I listen to people’s story but I rarely talk much about their pain. We focus on something that is more important – how to get back to where they want to be. How to get the function they want and need. That focus is so much more positive and also directs the brains attention to what it wants instead of feeling what it doesn’t want if that makes sense? It starts to scan for possibilities instead of limitations.

        I do my best to help people find their own path or back on track after being lost for a long time. To be able to do that we as practitioners need to become much more aware of the impact of our words as an authority. We need to understand more of human psychology and the many obstacles/defenses most of us have. And then we need to have time and a deep understanding of the biopsychosocial model for pain and how to mediate this to patients through metaphors and drawings.

        So much I could write but think I am already off track ;)

        • Yes, Simon, being open to changing beliefs is a critical component. You can have the best information in the world and a stellar bedside manner but if the person isn’t open to change, it’s not going to happen. And getting to that point takes time and I think it takes more time the longer you’ve been in pain (and believed certain things along the way). When I was in the worst of my pain I wasn’t open to change just because I didn’t have the capacity for it, all I had the capacity for was getting through each day. Pain took up all of my focus, my attention, my resources, and it made it very difficult to think and even more difficult to take on new information and new ways of thinking.

          I’m working on a book and in the first pages I address the fact that it’s hard for us to accept new ways of thinking about ourselves and our experiences especially when we’re in pain, and I ask the readers to keep an open mind and keep reading, even if it doesn’t jive just yet.

          I think your approach is wonderful and in line with some of my ideas on what successful change looks like when facilitated by a practitioner. My progress changed dramatically when I stopped focusing on the pain and reducing pain as a measure of success and started focusing on how I was living my life as a measure of success. And when that shift happened, my pain levels went down even though pain was no longer the focus. It’s like walking on a balance beam, if you think about not falling off, you fall off, if you focus on staying on, you stay on. Where we put our focus and our energies is fundamental to the outcome.

          And you are spot on in your assessment of PTs needing to become more aware of the impact of their words as an authority. I wrote a post after the Pain Summit about how I felt like I was granted permission by the presenters to stop focusing on the pain and start focusing on my life – that’s when my shift in thinking really took hold. Even though I am relatively knowledgeable in pain science (relative to other patients), I was still waiting to hear from an expert that it was ok to stop worrying about the pain so much and start doing all these other things. I needed that or else I think I would have kept doubting myself and doubting this way forward.

          Oh, Simon, I could (and have!) talk to you for hours! I really enjoy our discussions and think there is great value in this type of interaction, from a practitioner and a patient perspective, that we’re missing in healthcare in general. We rarely get to see both sides at once.

          • I would also like to talk to Simon lol…Thanks for your insight..i have found that to be true that people who choose to see me do much better than those who are pushed..When i start to try to help reframe things those choosing seem to be much more open to hearing and engaging..those who are maybe being pushed still do see any other goal than you get me out of pain then we can talk about doing more things…there is such a wide gap between how i want to approach them and what they are expecting me to do with them (all the other therapist tried to “put it back in”).

            I am working on letting patients ask the questions and gain understanding that way and it is helpful.

            Thank you both.

          • I’m sure Simon would chat with you (though I obviously can’t speak for him) as he had indicated he would translate some of his blog posts for you if you were interested. I went to his website: http://smertevidenskab.dk/ and Google translate does a pretty good job on some of the pages but not all. He’s in the midst of a 13 part pain science series on the blog. His email is also available on the site at the bottom of each blog post (here’s part 1 of the above mentioned series which did translate on my computer: http://smertevidenskab.dk/moderne-smerteforstaaelse-del-1-et-nyt-fundament/) if you wanted to get in touch with him!

            Thanks for all of your comments and for sharing your thoughts and experiences. The more we talk about such things from both sides of the equation the closer I think we’ll get to figuring out better ways of communicating. And your experiences make me think back to how I used to think and interact with my PTs, rather than how I think now, so that I may be able to figure out what may have helped my old self get to my new self, if that makes sense.

            I think a large part of the problem is that we just want to be fixed and not do the work ourselves, we want someone to fix us. Part of that is because pain is hard and saps us of attention and resources. So it’s not that people are necessarily lazy and just don’t want to do the work, it’s that they’re overwhelmed and don’t think they can. It seems unfathomable. So it’s easier to just look for the fix.

  4. Pingback: Labels, narratives, identity, and chronic pain - MyCuppaJo.com

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