You are doing it WRONG!
The Way Manual Therapy Should NOT Be Approached
Do you know those times you wish you could slap sense into somebody? Not out of bullying but out of frustration. For those in the pain therapy field, you know who I’m referring to. For those who are not, I’m certain you can relate and you have seen similar cases in your careers or life calling.
I’m referring to those who expect immediate and full recovery from their conditions with no work on their part, those who want the results with only a vague commitment as a token of effort. They are willing to blame everyone else but their unwitting attitude for their shortcomings. They don’t even bother to try to understand what therapy, or any results-oriented activity, entails but clamor for a pill-like approach.
They have convinced themselves that effective therapy involves surreptitious techniques with miraculous powers that cure without the need for responsibility or involvement.
I’m sure you know them. They are part of our daily life, and it does not matter what you do for a living, you will encounter them, or have already. Keeping it specific to the pain therapy field, these are the individuals who sabotage their own recovery through negligence and prefer to jump from therapist to therapist in the endless quest of a magic cure. They do not want to understand that it is not the techniques that solve the problems, but rather, the practitioner who knows why and when to apply a specific technique, as well as cooperation from those who receive it.
Pain therapists cringe the moment they encounter one of these cases in their practice. They know it will be an overwhelming task to help these people understand that healing is about creating the environment that allows the body to restore health and efficiency, not just fancy techniques thrown together and to be followed in a recipe-like manner. Most therapists know there is no hope for these cases unless they change their mindset and approach to their healing. If there’s no getting-through, no amount of education or instructions will ever lead to full recovery. These patients often disregard self-care instructions thinking they know better and never see how they alone are responsible for their relapse.
Oh, those face-palm moments! In how many ways can the phrase “Avoid all strenuous physical exertion” be conveniently misinterpreted? More often that I’d care to count. It is not unusual to encounter those who resume full physical activity only a couple of hours after the treatment, even when they are clearly instructed to avoid it. Their alibi? They were feeling better than they thought. Never mind they were told they should avoid all activity even, or more so, if feeling better. These folks feel they are somehow, exempt from the rules and in their minds, if the technique worked before, it will sure work again to fix them.
But focusing solely on the technique is irrelevant and counterproductive as therapy is never passive. It involves perseverance, discipline, and mutual cooperation between you and your therapist. It is not a one day solution, a one shot deal, or a short cut. You don’t get up from the treatment table and your problems are solved. You need to do your part to make sure your body acknowledges the treatment and sees a reason to continue holding to that feeling.
The take home message which many don’t want to hear is that healing demands as much commitment from the patient as from the therapist.
But I must be fair when I point this out since most people think that being compliant involves extensive bouts of specialized exercises and rituals for which they have no time. The good news is that when therapy is effective, specialized exercises and rituals are unnecessary, and in many cases, they can be overkill and counterproductive. Yet going against such conventional wisdom seems heretic and most people feel conflicted in the face of such news. It’s much easier to follow an established recipe, no matter how ineffective it may be, rather than breaking the mold and questioning the validity of popular mantras.
I hope this was useful to you. If you want more in-depth info, I encourage you to read my previous posts and come up with your own conclusions. I cover some controversial points in my book How I Eliminated Lower Back Pain in 3 Weeks, which you may enjoy and find useful.
I’ll see you on the exercise floor.