I've been triggered. I guess I'm delicate. It seems like I can't exist without being covered in the bullshit of physiotherapy, personal training and chiropractic musings on pain and injury.
Fortunately, I'm robust and well informed so these things don't hurt me much. Yet, the Reader's Digest level of critical thought and insight into how the body works and how pain manifests continues to infuriates me. It irks me because these messages harm people. They demoralize people. They create a fear of movement and a sense of catastrophe that shouldn't exist unless healthcare professionals step in and spout nonsensical ideas about human function. I can't leave my house or turn on my phone without seeing bullshit.
Here is a sample of some of the irrational, unsupported claptrap from just one week.
1. Readers Digest Notion: Kids get scar tissue when they exercise. It needs to be broken up with massage interventions or cupping. ---
You have to be kidding me? Exercise is a stimulus to adapt and grow and become robust. It creates strong bones, develops immunes systems, builds muscle, thickens tendons and keeps my girls out of trouble. My kids don't have scar tissue and fascial adhesions from being active. Stop this! More reading on fascial stretching here
2. Reader's Digest: Ridiculous vides about how discs move with flexion. Below we see a disc "blowing" out the back of a spine likes its a bullfrog showing off for some potential mate. This shit does not happen. You disc does not do this. It is strong. it is not some bubble that moves back some incredible amount. Yes, discs can herniate. Yes, they can hurt a lot. But they also heal! They aren't a bubble waiting to be popped. I show this video so you can look at it in disdain. (Please note, the video was originally posted by TrustMePhysiotherapy to point out the same things that I am saying)
3. Reader's Digest Notion: My 1000th patient who was told their glutes had shut off
Absurd. Unsupported. Not evidenced based. Not a validated clinical test. Not a validated biomechanical assumption about people in pain. Yet, every patient with knee, hip or low back pain will be told this. And every third patient with shoulder pain will be told this. its an old theory that people who have pain have "inhibited" glute muscles. Its never been supported but its been said 1,376,789 times (this is just an estimate based on the same science that promoted the theory. In other words, none). I'm not saying resistance training for the Gluteus Maximus is not helpful for people in pain. I am saying that telling people that they have pain because their glutes don't turn on properly is unsupported and for many harmful. I've had patients concerned that their butt muscles weren't firing when they walked. The diagnosis for this is ... Normal Human. They don't need to work when you walk. That is not their job. A twitter moment on some of the research is here
We have pathologized normal and our patients are paying the price.
It started with imaging. We could "find" things that looked funny on a scan and then said that's why you have pain. We know that's not true. And now we have started inventing things (scar tissue and fibrous adhesions in kids, butt muscles not turning on, Text Neck, bubble blowing discs) to scare people and create more disability and pain.