In this post we discuss why solutions to physical issues are difficult to find, despite the fact we have access to more information than ever before.
We are living at a time when the answer to any question you have is a click away.
Type any ailment into Google and you’ll quickly find protocols that promise fixes for everything from ACL tears to generic knee pain. And of course videos that claim to ‘fix shoulder pain forever with this one surprising move.’
Click bait aside, if this information is so easy to find, why are there so many people struggling to find solutions to physical issues?
In a word, variables.
Variables explains why generic protocols won’t work for many people and why even the implementation of those protocols will differ to such a degree, results are impossible to guarantee.
Let’s look at two specific scenarios to illustrate my point.
A triathlete is experiencing pain around his Achilles’ tendon whilst running. He has visited a physiotherapist who has followed an evidence based protocol and prescribed calf raises.
Desperate to return to running, this gentleman has been performing calf raises for nearly 3 months with little impact.
We check motion around his ankle and compare it to the other side. I can’t find anything significant.
We look at his calf raises and they seem fine. He has decent control and endurance in his calf muscles.
When we get up to his hip however, there’s a glaring lack of motion in a specific direction.
We work on this for a couple of weeks, first with table based exercises and then with resistance training machines.
His ankle starts to feel better.
The issue is not always at the site of pain. If you follow a protocol you may miss larger individual influences.
A runner comes to see me for IT band friction syndrome. She has visited various practitioners who have followed an evidence based protocol and prescribed exercises that target muscles at the side of her hip.
These have failed to produce any real change.
We carry out a detailed range of motion exam and find limits in the muscles she’s been targeting for over 6 months.
When I ask her to resist a minimal amount of force using these muscles, I’m able to move her leg with ease.
Even if the protocol leads you to the right area, both the exercises you use and the way you apply them may not produce the desired effect.
One size does not fit all
These are just two examples I’ve encountered recently where following evidence based protocols have failed to provide any real change for the client.
The reason for this is the huge amount of variables involved.
What caused your ankle pain may not be the same thing that caused your friend’s ankle pain.
And what seemed to work for the subjects in a knee pain trial won’t necessarily work for your knee pain.
This is true for any area of your body that is causing you issues.
Protocols can either miss more significant deficits, or the exercises they recommend aren’t personalised enough to have any measurable impact.
If you’ve tried a protocol and it hasn’t worked for you then there’s something else going on that’s been missed.
To find out what that might be book a call to discuss your situation in detail.