Elementary but not Easy

August 9, 2018

This time i’d like to address young therapists as much as my usual, loyal readers (aka Mum).

There will be a point, but as always you have to listen to me ramble for a little bit first.

Maybe the title should read “It’s my blog and my mum thinks i’m awesome!!”

Then you can get back to reading whatever Connor Gleadhill comes out with next.

Right, story time.

One of favourite book series as a kid was the Sherlock Holmes stories. I would imagine myself as the detective connecting pieces of information, working out mysteries and saving lives.

I can’t remember how old I was when I first read it, but let’s just say I was too young to be reading about a high functioning sociopath that used to shoot up cocaine in his loungeroom.

Good one Mum.

A common dialogue in the books is between Sherlock and either Dr Watson, the police or the client, where, after being explained the connection between events, the reasoning behind it and the path to the conclusion, whomever he is speaking to comes out with –

“Oh, that was obvious. For a second there I thought you had done something clever.”

And it pissed the detective off.

A problem so big no one else had been able to solve. Random puzzle pieces with seemingly little connection. Scared, worried, threatened people in need of help that had been turned away from every other door and been told that no one could help.

He solves the great puzzle, provides the solution, and they say it was obvious.

I have experienced this regularly at times in my career.

Not because I am amazing, the self proclaimed Sherlock Holmes of the physio world. It’s just the truth. When someone explains the entire workings of a process, the interactions and results, most people will get it. And anything is obvious once you can see it.

I used to get angry about it, before I realised I was being illogical (I know, hard for me to admit that one.)

It was my fault I was upset, because I took them saying “it was obvious” to mean that it was easy, not valuable or a waste of their time.

Simple, not Easy.

Being in pain and knowing what to do is not easy.

Having an understanding of anatomy, pathology, biology, neuroscience, with enough empathy to listen and care, then enough frontal lobe activity to boil that down into simple answers based on what the person in front of you needs and wants is not easy. I’ve been studying or working with humans for more than half my life and it’s not easy.

Picking up nasty problems that look like simple problems is not easy.

However, despite how smart and educated we are or think we are, the solution to many of the problems people bring to us is fairly simple. If the person does not get to the solution it can be because it is not easy.

Many people seek out therapy that is easy. But most of the time this sucks.

I used to want to burst into a Sherlock Holmes soliloquy about how I connected the dots, in the dark, because of my knowledge of the topic, the research behind, and the HEY SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO HOW SMART I AM GODDAM IT!

So, for the young therapists out there in a huff about people, including me, saying your profession is simple, get over it. It is. The human body, pathology, pain and cell biology is the most insanely complex system on the planet. But the solution to many musculoskeletal problems, even very complex ones, is often very simple. Learn, Move, Load. I cut that down further into one word, Weaponise. Weaponising is not Easy.

If people are leaving before they should, thinking they can do it themselves, then you haven’t shown them enough of a reason not to. Test them, progress them, load them. Don’t massage their ankle for 3 months FFS.

For the young therapists out there jaded at the fact that they were going to change the world but now realising that every day they will explain things to people and those people will think it was fairly obvious, get over it. You have within your ability the power to arm a person with the tools they need to lead healthy, active, informed lives, making good health decisions, being great role models and enriching their communities. I’d say that’s pretty world changing. Do you need to be thanked?

You will though, on occasion, have a person thank you from the bottom of their heart for being their own Sherlock Holmes and providing a solution where no one else would or could and helping them to take their life back. Crying emoji.

Lastly, to my mum, I mean all my many readers, good physical therapists are a wealth of knowledge of how to solve your problem. If you want to get to where you are aiming, and further, listen, work harder and do it for longer than you think, until you don’t need them any more. Do it enough so you don’t need to do it again. Be happy that you have a problem with a simple solution. Getting to that solution is always easier and more likely with quality help. If you choose to do things yourself, you need to be happy with the outcome, like when I attempted to plaster a gyprock wall. Simple, I thought.

But Simple (like Pimpin’) Ain’t Easy.

Until next time