Sue Pitts: Bridging Modern Pain Science with Current Practice

Massage Therapist Sue Pitts recently attended the Bridging Modern Pain Science with Current Practice course at our Exmouth School - She wrote the following blog on her experience of the course, and how fantastic she found it!

Blog by Sue Pitts - http://www.wellbeingnaturally.co.uk/bridging-modern-pain-science-with-current-practice/

This course was in the lovely, super equipped Massage Training School, in Exmouth, owned and run by Anna Maria Mazzieri.

The course leaders, for Bridging Modern Pain Science with Current Practice, were a charismatic duo from Norway, Simon Roost Kirkegaard and Jacob Beermann. Simon is a Physiotherapist, with a passion for pain science and Jacob is a World Weight Lifting champion, with a passion for pain science! I would like to write a little more about them, but all helpful information was in Norwegian!

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The course was designed to help us, manual therapists get to grips with pain science and to then add this into our work, to make us as effective as possible in our treatments. I have done a couple of pain science courses before and was just a bit concerned that I may be repeating stuff I felt I all ready knew. It just goes to show!

Through out the two days, I deepened my knowledge of pain science. The first day covered the concept of changing from the analogy of a car, with bits that need repairing or replacing to an ecosystem and was inspired. It really helped me to move away from the structuralist model of the body. ie your pelvis is tilted, your hamstrings are pulling on your pelvis, one leg is longer than the other etc, to the model of an eco system, where your brain is 100% producing your output of pain, and that who you are, what you do, your beliefs, even your childhood and the context of the injury will play a vital role in your experience of pain. Examples, discussion and teaching led to a thorough understanding of the content.

The second day concentrated on communication. How do we talk and listen to our clients, how does what we say help or hinder them on their journey to get better. We talked about placebo and the not so familiar word, nocebo (I shall hurt) and how our comments can have a treatment effect either way. We can help our clients to view their bodies as strong and adaptable, offering a client centred , rather than  treatment centred approach. We can encourage independence and personal control, novel movement and mobility. To move away from a reliance on the therapist as a fixer of all things and to put the client back in control of their own bodies.

The final part of day two was a session watching Simon taking a consultation with a client with persistent knee pain. Here we saw Simon’s interactions, his ability to explain pain science in a down to earth and understandable way and the clients subsequent progress, through understanding and novel movement. A master class. We followed this with more ideas for novel movement and a practical session for shoulder mobility. It was great.

There were times when Simon and Jacob really challenged our beliefs, in a very non British way! It was a hot seat, with out doubt and yet expanded our understanding, called our beliefs into question and encouraged a broader view.

This is what I loved about the course. It wasn’t a lecture as such and I’ve been to a few of those. It was an interaction, a sharing of ideas, a discussion, a passion and through that a great learning experience. And finally, the course has questioned all that I say, and much of what I hear!