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LIVE on the Sport Physiotherapy Canada Facebook Page, I welcome Greg Lehman on the show to preview his lecture for the Third World Congress of Sports Physical Therapy in Vancouver, Canada. Greg is a physiotherapist, chiropractor and strength and conditioning specialist treating musculoskeletal disorders within a biopsychosocial model. He currently teaches two 2-day continuing education courses to health and fitness professionals throughout the world. Reconciling Biomechanics with Pain Science and Running Resiliency have been taught more than 60 times in more than 40 locations worldwide.
In this episode, we discuss:
-Common misconceptions surrounding the source of pain
-Do biomechanics matter?
-Promoting movement optimism in your treatment framework
-What Greg is looking forward to at the Third World Congress of Sports Physical Therapy
-And so much more!
Third World Congress of Sports Physical Therapy
David Butler Sensitive Nervous System
For more information on Greg:
Prior to my clinical career I was fortunate enough to receive a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council MSc graduate scholarship that permitted me to be one of only two yearly students to train with Professor Stuart McGill in his Occupational Biomechanics Laboratory subsequently publishing more than 20 peer reviewed papers in the manual therapy and exercise biomechanics field. I was an assistant professor at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College teaching a graduate level course in Spine Biomechanics and Instrumentation as well conducting more than 20 research experiments while supervising more than 50 students. I have lectured on a number of topics on reconciling treatment biomechanics with pain science, running injuries, golf biomechanics, occupational low back injuries and therapeutic neuroscience.
While I have a strong biomechanics background I was introduced to the field of neuroscience and the importance of psychosocial risk factors in pain and injury management almost two decades ago. I believe successful injury management and prevention can use simple techniques that still address the multifactorial and complex nature of musculoskeletal disorders. I am active on social media and consider the discussion and dissemination of knowledge an important component of responsible practice. Further in depth bio and history of my education, works and publications.
Read the full transcript below:
Karen Litzy: 00:00 Hey everybody, welcome to the live interview tonight with Doctor Greg Lehman. And we have a lot to cover tonight. So for everyone that is on watching, oh good. And we’re on. Awesome. Just wanted to make sure, for everyone that’s on watching and kind of throughout the interview, if you have any comments or you have any questions or you want to put Greg on the spot, feel free to do so. We can see your comments as they come up. Greg, if you can’t see them, just know I’ll kind of let you know. But one thing we do want to know is if you’re watching, say hi and let us know where you’re watching from. And that way when you start asking questions, at least I’ll have a better, kind of know who you are a little bit. Now before we get to the meat of the interview, I just want to remind everyone that if you are watching this, this is not on my page and it’s not on Greg’s page, but instead we are on the Facebook page for the Third World Congress in Sports Physical Therapy and that is going to be taking place on October 4th and fifth in Vancouver, Canada.
Karen Litzy: 01:20 So hopefully we’re going to be doing more of these throughout the year talking to a lot of the presenters and Greg is one of the presenters at the congress. So that’s why he’s here.
Greg Lehman: 01:31 Not just me every time
Karen Litzy: 01:35 Although I have to say, I bet people would really enjoy that.
Greg Lehman: 01:39 Yeah, I’ll fill in for whatever speaker it is and I’ll just learn their stuff and then pretend like I know
Karen Litzy: 01:46 Okay. So I’d like to see you fill in for Sarah Haag.
Greg Lehman: 01:50 Done. I’ll shake my pelvis.
Karen Litzy: 01:53 Pelvic health and stuff like that. That would be amazing. I would actually wouldn’t mind seeing that. Now before we get started, Greg, can you talk a little bit more about yourself, just kind of give the listeners, the viewers here a little bit more of a background on you so that they know where you’re coming from, if they are in fact not familiar with you.
Greg Lehman: 02:13 Okay. Well, leading into that, I’m a generalist. I’m not a specialist. I have a background in kinesiology and then a master’s in spine biomechanics and I was really into spine biomechanics for a long time. But you know, I became not, sorry, I was going to say dissolutioned. That’s a little too strong. I’ve always been skeptical, skeptical of everything that I’ve known, and that’s probably why I got accepted to my master’s in biomechanics because they liked the questions I asked. And then my research there was in mainly exercise, like EMG and manual therapy, what manual therapy does. And I was pretty lucky because I was with Stuart McGill and two chiros named Kim Ross and Dave Breznik, who I always have to mention. And I should give a big shout out to Stu because he took on Kim Ross Dave Breznik who were chiros at the time and they did like amazing research that challenged so much of what we know about, you know, spine manipulation.
Greg Lehman: 03:19 And they also challenged me to think about what I thought about low back pain at the time. So my master’s was really helpful for me because it challenged so much of what I thought. And so that’s when I was first introduced to the bio psycho social, not actually first, cause I used to read John Sarno when I was like 19 years old. I was a bit of a nerd when I was a kid. But definitely the occupational biomechanics at Waterloo, even though they love biomechanics, even back then they knew that psychosocial factors were important for your pain and injury. And then I went to chiro school, actually I went to, that’s like in quotes. I like was registered, but I didn’t go to class, but I had a research program and they were awesome. They funded me to do more biomechanical research. Then I was in practice for a long time and then I went back to physio school and then I was in practice for a long time and didn’t do a lot of research. And then I just started teaching with John Sarno who’s running the conference with the running clinic and they were great. And at the same time I also started teaching my course which is about biomechanics and pain science. How do we like bring them together? And you’ve hosted me.
Karen Litzy: 04:38 I’ve taken that course. Yes.
Greg Lehman: 04:41 For you is like an echo chamber. Just it was confirmation bias. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We know this shit, Greg. But thanks for confirming what I already know. And my course does that a lot, which I don’t mind. So that’s me. There you go. That was fun.
Karen Litzy: 04:56 Excellent. Very good. And, you know, just as a side note that I spoke to John Sarno a couple of years, like when I was in the middle of like all my neck pain, I reached out to him via email and he said, you need to call me.
Greg Lehman: 05:11 Oh, interesting.
Karen Litzy: 05:12 So I called him and I spoke to him. I never saw him but I spoke to him and he was like, you’re a young chickadee. I was like, what? And like crying and all this neck pain. I’m like, who is this guy? And he said, well, just get my book. Read it. If it doesn’t work, come in and see me.
Greg Lehman: 05:30 Yeah, that’s funny. I had a patient, he was very famous, very rich, and he bought like a hundred of his books and gave them out to his friends. He thought it was amazing. Sarno was interesting because and this happens, this is the issue with biomechanics sometimes is he had physios working with him for a long time and then he realized that doing physical medicine conflicted with the message he was giving about where pain came from, meaning like predominantly emotional, I’m probably bastardizing my sense in a long time since I thought about them. And so, which is funny that he had the problem that I had for a long time and so many of us do where we think it’s bio-psychosocial, but often our biomechanical ideas will conflict with their psychosocial. So we have to be careful in how we navigate all the multidimensional nature of pain.
Karen Litzy: 06:26 I think that’s the important part is that it’s multidimensional and that you can’t have that pendulum swing too far in either direction. And you know, now that we’re on the topic of pain, let’s go in a little bit deeper, so what would you say are the biggest misconceptions or common misconceptions around pain and it’s, I’ll put this in quotes, sources, quote unquote sources.
Greg Lehman: 06:53 Yeah. The biggest one. And I really like to focus on this because it helps me in practice, it’s this idea that, and I like this cause it’s how our practice is that we don’t always need to fix people, right? And I kind of mean, I don’t just mean that in the biomechanical way. And I would have meant that in the biomechanical way five years ago where I would have said, well, you don’t have to fix that posture. You don’t have to fix that strength or that weakness or we don’t fix strength. We’re gonna have to fix that weakness or tightness. And I believe that although I do think strength and weakness and range of motion can be relevant sometimes, but I also don’t think we need to always fix catastrophizing and depression and anxiety and worry, and so that criticism goes both ways.
Greg Lehman: 07:53 It started out for biomechanical with me, but I would also say psycho social and we see that in the literature where people recover and they still have these, you know, mediators of disability and pain. It could be high catastrophizing but they still do really well because maybe they built up their self efficacy and they got a little bit of control and they were able to do something and something to control their pain or do something that they loved or they had some sort of hope. And so that’s the biggest one, that idea of like fixing and if you want to be more technical or mechanical, it’s the same idea. Like I don’t think you have to get rid of nociception. So like your tissue irritation stuff, you can have shit going on in the tissues, but it’s how you kind of respond to that stuff. That’s exciting.
Karen Litzy: 08:45 Well why would want to get rid of nociception.
Greg Lehman: 08:49 Yeah. Well I mean I don’t, well I know what you mean. Like, we don’t, you don’t want to, cause when you sit down you want to get an ass ulcer. Right. You definitely want to move around. So, but that now we get into crazy stuff with that.
Karen Litzy: 09:03 Well do you mean the sensitivity around it?
Greg Lehman: 09:05 Yeah, it’d be like you definitely don’t want like a raging disc herniation that’s pressing on a nerve root and you have chemical inflammation, things like that. It’s worthwhile getting rid of. But you know, other things, you know, you can have tendinosis and a muscle strain and it can definitely hurt. But it’s the idea that sometimes maybe what our rehab does is helps us cope with those, with those things, right? That’s at a peripheral level and more central level. You can have anxiety and worry and those might magnify your pain response, but you can also cope with them as well. And so I love that message because I think it’s just positive. Like people think I’m so messed up, I got scoliosis, I’ll never got pain. And I’m like, dude, like it might contribute. I don’t think the research actually supports that. Perhaps. Perhaps it does, but you can have that and still be doing awesome.
Karen Litzy: 10:00 Right. So just cause you have chronic, let’s say persistent pain or you’ve had pain for x amount of time, it doesn’t mean that that should be the thing that defines what you do or defines whether you’re happy or sad or anxious but that it’s a part of your life that perhaps you can cope with or like in my case I had many years of chronic pain. Now I have pain every once in awhile. But there are times where it’s more severe than I would like it to be. And there are times when I want to fix it or I need to fix it. And then there are other times where I feel like I can cope with it and it’s not horrible.
Karen Litzy: 10:45 I think it’s context dependent. So like I had pain last year, like pretty severe for like a week or so, and I knew that in another couple of days I had to get on a flight to go to Sri Lanka. And so I needed it. So what I did for myself was I decided to get medication to help bring those pain levels down and that’s what I needed at the time. But I felt so guilty about it. I would like say is this the bio psycho social way? Is this the way I should be handling this?
Greg Lehman: 11:20 I would think so. I’m going to mansplain you for a second. Cause I’m guessing that you knew that this was just a flare it was going to go away and that you’ve managed it before, but you’re just giving yourself a break for a few days. Yeah. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking Tylenol for a few days. I’ve talked off topic, but it’s how you do manual therapy, I don’t do a lot of manual therapy, but I don’t begrudge people that do. And it’s, especially at an athlete level, I brought this up with some of the people who are going to be at the congress and I’m like, I find it ironic that all of us who teach a running course, none of us really teach manual therapy at our running courses and no one would ever say that manual therapy is a strongly evidence based, you know, modality for running injury.
Greg Lehman: 12:16 It’s not, we would all talk about load management and exercise and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, all of these things. Yet when you’re a physio or a chiro training like elite athletes and you’re working with them the day before their competition, what are you doing? You’re probably doing some manual therapy. And so I just found that ironic that we do that, that when we’re traveling with the team, I don’t travel with teams, but I do have athletes come to see me the day before an event or I’ve been working with them for months and here I am doing what people would call low value care. But I’m like, no, sometimes it’s a bandaid, but sometimes bandaids help and that’s the only solution. Well, the solution that works then.
Karen Litzy: 13:08 Well again, it’s context dependent, right? So if, and I saw this conversation on Twitter about, you know, what are we doing race day and race day yeah you probably are doing some sort of manual therapy.
Greg Lehman: 13:30 You’re treating that little niggle and this things tight and sore and you treat and people feel better. And if fatigue is psychobiological, which it is, then our intervention is probably psychobiological and it could certainly be more psycho based. Yeah.
Karen Litzy: 13:48 Right, right. It’s still real. And you know, in the context of athletes and being, this is the Third World Congress in Sports Physical Therapy. So there’ll be a lot of, we can assume, I don’t know, physios there that probably work with an athletic population. And so I think it’s important to bring that up. All right. I digress.
Greg Lehman: 14:14 I did, you were the professional.
Karen Litzy: 14:20 So one common misconception is that we don’t have to fix everything and not just the biological part, but the psychosocial part as well. Is there any other, maybe one other common misconception around pain and its sources that you hear a lot or you see a lot?
Greg Lehman: 14:40 I mean if I had to say anything, it’s like it’s the relationship between bio motor abilities, which would be like strength and flexibility and pain. I think that it’s over sold. You know, I don’t think posture is relevant. I don’t think strength or motor control is irrelevant. I just think it gets over done in that, that to me is that kinesio pathological model, which I have a big issue with, which would be like your knee goes into Valgus, you’re going to pay for it later and you’re going to get knee pain or hip pain. And, I’m like, well if your knee hurts and it goes into Valgus it’s certainly a reasonable option to avoid that for a little bit. And then you might recover cause it’s an avoidance strategy and build yourself back up and you’ll do great. But I think what often happens is we then say, well, you went into valgus and it hurt, therefore valgus is inherently wrong and we need to make rules for everyone on how they should function. I hardly saw you when we were in Denver together, but I gave that whole, I forgot about that. We just saw each other, sorry, I was with Betty the whole time. I couldn’t hang out with you guys. And so that I gave that example of limping, like when you sprain your ankle.
Karen Litzy: 16:06 That example was great.
Greg Lehman: 16:08 Yeah. You sprained your ankle and it feels better to limp. That’s totally reasonable. But no one would then conclude that we all should be limping. That that’s the right way to move. When I see like people I really respect, like Shirley Sahrmann or Jill Cook who will, you know, say avoid hip abduction, right? It’s so horrible on the tendon, on the outside of the hip or is so bad on the knee. And I’m like, yeah, it’s reasonable for symptom modification but I don’t want to make a general rule and that happens too much and then we’re too quick to be like, well just cause someone got better with exercises that try to change those movement patterns. That doesn’t mean that’s why that treatment was successful. Often those rehab programs that try to change movement patterns are like amazingly comprehensive and excellent rehab programs. And then you have like awesome therapists like you know, Stuart McGill or Shirley Sahrmann who just like build in this graded self efficacy and pump them up and they tell them you can do whatever you like. Let’s just change your movement patterns and start doing this stuff you love again, may have nothing to do with the movements. It’s just like the person was like, wow, I’m awesome, you’re awesome. Let’s do it.
Karen Litzy: 17:26 I think you can’t sort of parcel out one part of that complete treatment program and say this is the thing that worked. This is why this worked. I mean, you can’t do that. I think that’s impossible.
Greg Lehman: 17:37 No. And it’s certainly the same with the people who I really love, like Peter O’Sullivan and that whole group when they help people, like I don’t really agree. I’m such a jerk. I don’t always agree with their mechanisms because when I see Pete treat, he’s just so confident. It’s like, you can do this, you can do this and bend over and do this and do this. And like, and I would never practice that way. I just couldn’t pull it off. But I can imagine how much he helps people. That’s actually why I really respect him. What he does really well. When he tests RCTs, he doesn’t test himself. He trains people and other people do it. So, I actually shouldn’t, I’m not knocking his research. I can’t get to his style because he’s so confident. It’s absolutely really honorable what he does where he’s like, I’m not going to be the dude that’s in the RCT and train people and then we’ll do the studies on them, which is just, that’s nice science.
Karen Litzy: 18:34 Yeah, for sure. And all of those people you mentioned also have great reputations. People are referred to them when nothing else works. And so as the patient, you’re like, well I know this person’s the expert.
Karen Litzy: 18:49 Right. So I think in the patient mind they’re thinking, if anyone can fix me, yeah, it’s going to be this person. And I think that that also plays into it.
Greg Lehman: 19:00 I just opened my own little clinic out of my house. We have like a little gym. It used to be a workshop and now it’s a clinic gym and I have nothing on the walls. And I’m like, how can I placebo the hell out of this? So that’s my answer. I like art. I want to put up like, no, I should put up like placebo shit. Like what was like going to make me look amazing?
Karen Litzy: 19:25 Yeah. Well you can put up like awards you’ve gotten put up your degrees. People will be like, look at how many degrees he has. Look at all of his qualifications. He must be amazing.
Greg Lehman: 19:37 Yeah. Maybe, I don’t know.
Karen Litzy: 19:41 You see that a lot in the US like when you walk into an office, the degrees and the licenses and certifications, right?
Greg Lehman: 19:46 All that weekend certifications, all that nonsense. After I teach, I always tell everyone, like, whenever you want me to write on your certificate, I will write levels six fascial blaster done, master Fascia blaster. I don’t care. It’s all bullshit.
Karen Litzy: 20:03 Biomechanics. Does it matter?
Greg Lehman: 20:07 Since the sport conference let’s start. They definitely matter for performance. We got to listen to our coaches and the physios. But biomechanics and technique matter for performance. So if you want to tell someone to sit up straight, yeah, it’s totally reasonable to do that if you’re thinking how they’re going to function 30 years from now. So that’s great advice. And then, it’s like a question of when they matter after that. And so I kind of Parse it into a few different areas of when they matter. The big one for me is like what’s more important, is it’s not how you move, it’s that you’re prepared to do what you’re doing. So make the mechanics and the loads on the person matter.
Greg Lehman: 20:59 But it’s the movement preparation. So my pithy expression is preparation trumps quality, right? Something like that. And then the other way or the other area where they matter is this symptom modifications. So if it hurts to do something, like if you’re a runner and your knees hurt and you heel strike and you have a long stride, it’s totally reasonable to shorten your stride, maybe changed your foot strike, although that’s debatable, but it could serve it is certainly is an option. And if it feels better, keep running like that. So the mechanics there help but it doesn’t prove, you know, the thesis that there’s a right way of running. It’s just that you’re running differently cause another run or you’re going to be like stop forefoot striking and actually lengthen your stride. I’ve done that plenty of times. So you’re just symptom modifying.
Greg Lehman: 21:45 So mechanics help a ton for symptom modification. And then you know there’s probably under high high loads, there’s probably better ways for your tissue to tolerate strain. You know, like if you’re landing and cutting you can go into valgus but you probably don’t want to go into Valgus if your knee’s not flexed. Right. So high loads where the tissue gets overloaded matters. And then after that with that principal there, it gets more difficult because you start thinking of the spine and you’re like, okay, is there a better way for the spine to tolerate loads? And that’s where we have been debating biomechanical principles here because certainly the bio does drive nociception sometimes. And so those are the big areas for me where biomechanics matters. Sorry I went over that fast.
Karen Litzy: 22:39 I think that makes perfect sense. And I mean, I don’t know if you saw this since you are probably more into tumbling and gymnastics than I am. I haven’t seen this yet. But did you see yesterday a gymnast broke both of her legs or something.
Greg Lehman: 23:01 I saw that by accident. I won’t see it again.
Karen Litzy: 23:02 But I don’t know what happened there.
Greg Lehman: 23:07 I think it may have been in a double Arabian or a double front tack and she landed and then hyper extended. And what freaked me out a little, only saw it once and I’m not gonna see it again, is I don’t think she landed with straight knees. They were like bent and then they went into extension like, which freaks me out because my daughter’s learning front and I’m doing them with her front tuck step outs, and you kind of land on that one leg and it’s straight ish. And I was worried of extending.
Karen Litzy: 23:46 Yeah. I mean I haven’t seen the footage of that, so I was just wondering if that would be a time when biomechanics mattered or just an accident.
Greg Lehman: 23:55 It certainly did. But here’s the problem with all the biomechanics mattering stuff, is it the mechanics mattered and caused the injury. It’s just whether you can prevent it. Yeah. It’s like so many ACLs. Someone might cut 10,000 times with their knee in valgus. Well, that’s proof of principle, that they’re safe and then they do it one way that’s slightly different and then they tear their ACL. But it doesn’t mean that the way they were doing it before was unsafe because they could have had less valgus pattern before and then they could have done that too. Like, yeah, I don’t know. It’s difficult.
Karen Litzy: 24:34 Yeah, and I think when you’re talking about injury prevention, I mean that’s a whole other conversation. But I think that so many factors go into that as well. It’s sleep, it’s nutrition. It’s what did you do the day before or was the beginning of the game, the end of the game? Are you fatigued? Are you not? I mean, so much can go into that. So yeah, you can cut 10,000 times and one time you have an injury. It doesn’t mean that the way you did it was incorrect. It doesn’t mean that the preparation leading up to it, it could have been that day. It could have been what you did the night before. I mean, so many factors and elements that go into something, some sort of accident or injury like that, which is why injury prevention programs are difficult.
Greg Lehman: 25:25 Yeah. And, and we see them running, you know, like we’ve been saying the same thing for years. So you don’t have training errors, which just means don’t do too much too soon. And then you try to nail it down in the research and you say, well, what’s too much and what’s too soon? And then there’s no real good research on that, right? Because there’s so many different variables that influence that. So my joke tonight, we’re arguing not we were talking on Twitter about this. I’m like, well, we can probably all agree when it’s like just looks ridiculously like too much too soon. And that’s the pornography test, right? Which is your old Supreme Court justice is either pornography or obscenity and they’re like, I can’t define pornography, but I know when I see it. And so when a movement pattern or a training load is pornographic than maybe you avoid it or depending on your personality.
Karen Litzy: 26:17 Right. Well, you mean it just gets a point where it’s so obscene.
Greg Lehman: 26:20 It’s so obscene. You say, ah, that’s probably some of them. But it has to be that and who knows? That’s the worst part is there’s probably people who can handle that obscenity. And I stopped this analogy because I dunno, they’re built for it. They prepared to handle.
Karen Litzy: 26:41 All right. Let’s talk about being a movement optimist. Yes. So for those of people watching and listening that aren’t familiar with this, can you talk about it a little bit more and how this came about?
Greg Lehman: 27:02 Well, I mean, I have already, I’ve already said all the good stuff I’ve run out of material.
Karen Litzy: 27:08 I can’t, I can’t even believe for a second. That’s true. You’re not like your greatest hits album.
Greg Lehman: 27:18 I was in Denmark and they gave me this little bobble head that you’ve pressed the top of and the whole thing like bounces. And it’s funny, I was in Scandinavia three or four years ago and they gave me the same thing. It’s like this thing that I would get there, but it’s called a hop to mist. I loved it. My kids have it anyways, so what it means is like we need to stop vilifying like certain movements. You know, like when you look at someone’s skateboarding, their knees are going to cave in and it’s amazing and it’s a successful movement pattern. If you rock climb and you were just at a birthday party.
Karen Litzy: 28:01 I was at a rock climbing birthday party yesterday for my 10 year old niece.
Greg Lehman: 28:05 Well, I doubt they were doing it, but there’s something called a drop knee, which is what I do on a climb is, is you can do it. I’m not doing it. You put your foot up behind you almost and drop your knee down into valgus and then stand up on that and you go into that.
Karen Litzy: 28:24 There are actually some more like real climbers there and they were doing that. There are a couple of people doing that move. Cause I remember my friend that I was with was like, oh my God, look at that person’s knee. How is she doing that?
Greg Lehman: 28:37 Yeah. And so Alex Honnold is a famous rock climber. They just won the Oscar for Free Solo Yosemite without a rope. But I have sometimes he’s in another documentary about Yosemite. I’ve filmed it when he’s in it because he sits like me. He’s like super hunched forward with the super forward head posture. And here he is climbing, you know, these massive granite walls and that’s a movement optimists, it says you can do all these weird funny things with your body and still be fantastic. You can be a paralympian where you’re missing a limb than have induced, you know, assymmetry that you can have scoliosis and make it to the Olympics. You can have scoliosis and lift five times your body weight. And so that’s the optimism. It’s this revolt a bit against the kinesio pathological model, which to me is certainly has value.
Greg Lehman: 29:39 It’s certainly has treatment efficacy because I like the treatments that are associated with it, but the fundamental ideas behind it that there’s like bad ways to move or better ways to move for injury and pain, that’s what I would challenge. I’d be like, let’s be more optimistic about how we move, you know, we don’t have to always fix these things right now is go and anytime someone like me talks and says to people, all you can move this way, you always want to look for exceptions, right? When you’re in practice, like, when should I, you know, disregard what I think, like when you know, when is how someone moves. Like when is that important? You know that and that’ll help him be a better clinician. I think. I always challenge challenging whatever you think is true. It makes it difficult.
Karen Litzy: 30:40 Yeah. But I think having that as a clinician, having that sense of doubt is not a bad thing.
Greg Lehman: 30:48 Yeah. I mean, I’m going to want to agree with you. Sorry. It was like, why am I listening to this guy? It’s like, but then there’s those clinicians that get people better by sheer force of personality. They have that utmost belief in what they do, even when they may be full of shit. And so that’s how it was hard.
Karen Litzy: 31:16 I have a great example of that, I’m not going to go into it right now.
Greg Lehman: 31:25 Now you also have to wake up in the morning and be happy with yourself, so.
Karen Litzy: 31:29 This’ll be an easy one for you. What is the most common question you get asked by other physio therapists? If you could say whether it’s maybe they private message you or at your courses or lectures. What is the most common question that other physios or healthcare providers ask you?
Greg Lehman: 31:59 Oh, that’s funny. I didn’t read this one before, but a few things. But usually it’s like what’s the paper that you mentioned? And then I have to like come up with a name and I usually know it, but the bigger one is this is what I do with people. This is not what you talked about, but tell me why it’s helping them. That’s, what I get a lot, they want validation and then they want to like, you know, tell me their theories of things, but really tell me they want me to tell them why it’s great. It’s like what the mechanism is.
Karen Litzy: 32:47 That’s why it’s okay. Looking for just your confirmation.
Greg Lehman: 32:54 Confirmation and then like, and then trying to like find out why it works. Like they want me to do the research behind it, I’m going to go. Okay. So what do you say? I mean it depends. Like I probably do like the motivational interviewing thing where I roll a bit with towards distance and I just probably, it’s pretty bad, but I probably just read say are actually depends if I’ve met them before, I’ll just talk about the general things that help pain and I’ll say maybe it’s working this way, but I don’t, that’s all I do if I think they’re totally off base. I don’t think I ever really say that. I don’t know if I’ve ever done that.
Karen Litzy: 33:49 Now, and you kind of alluded to this in your answer there, but if you could recommend one must read book or article, what would it be? And if you want to say one book and one article, but just one.
Greg Lehman: 34:06 Yeah. You know what I’d go old sounds funny saying old school, but I would read David Butler’s the sensitive nervous system. So good. Yeah, it is. Cause it’s not only good in like a pain, but if when you read that he’s just throwing out little ideas all the time. Like it would be nice for me to reread and just pull out his anecdotes and like little things that he says to do because there’s things that I do and I thought, oh, this is kind of neat. And I thought I’d discovered them myself. I thought I’d, you know, you know, found it myself and then I’m realizing here at, he said it 20 years ago or something like that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That, and then like his former partner would been Louie Gifford and I’ve only read parts of his books, but I’ve read some of his other writings and I like his stuff too. But David Butler’s the central nervous system, which is just, and it’s what, 15 years old, but it’s still plenty accurate.
Karen Litzy: 35:07 Yeah. Yeah. And for people who are listening or watching, I can plug that into the comment section, when this is done. All right, so let’s move on to the conference. October 4th and fifth in Vancouver, the Third World Congress is sports physical therapy. So can you give us a little bit of a glimpse into what you’re going to be talking about?
Greg Lehman: 35:32 Not really. I am talking with Alex Hutchinson who’s kind of a friend of mine here in Toronto, like the same kind of know those same people.
Karen Litzy: 35:46 You run in the same crowd.
Greg Lehman: 35:53 Like, you know, like we rock climb together. We’ve been to some similar weddings. I’ve known Alex for awhile and I love his stuff and I always pump up his stuff in my courses. That’s what’s funny. And then when they put him with me, I was like, this is awesome. Because I always talk about the psychobiological model of fatigue, which is that fatigue is kind of a nice analog for pain. That it’s not just purely physiology, that there’s a psychology component to fatigue. And I’m like, Whoa, we should talk about this because look how this area of function relates to pain. But so we’re talking together on like this massive nebulous talk topic of pain science and athletes.
Karen Litzy: 36:44 Yeah. Yeah. That’s a heavy one. I listening to his book Endure right now.
Greg Lehman: 36:48 Yeah. See I like the breath holding stuff in there.
Karen Litzy: 36:55 That’s the chapter I’m on now, which I can’t even fathom.
Greg Lehman: 37:13 So go, go online and find David Blaine’s breath holding stuff. He needs to have the breath holding record. He did. But he could also do like eight minutes without that. I used to hold my breath in church all the time to pass the time. But breath holdings interesting because if you just hold your breath right now, you might make it 30 seconds, but you can train yourself to make it for four minutes. And so within like a few days if not an hour. So it means your physiological reaction to try to breathe is way over cooked. And that often happens with persistent pain. We do this protective response. So I’ve been talking about breath holding for years and then Alex’s book came out and I’m like perfect. Now I can refer people to that way better down. But so like finding analogs between weird things about pain and then interesting things about performance or breath holding is really nice.
Greg Lehman: 38:04 So we’ve been talking, we were probably going to go rock climbing and then we’re going to try to maybe come up with something that parallels each other. I will probably, I’m guessing talk about like how we, I like doing something really practical, like instead of saying this, which might have a negative connotation to some patients, like set them up to have some, you know, less than good expectations say this instead. So, you know, like the diet stuff, don’t eat this, eat this. Well it would be the same idea with explaining common running injuries. Which we’ll probably talk about, cause Alex’s a runner and I’m a slow runner. So mine will probably be something like that. Just met her way to phrase things. And because everyone always says to me like, okay, well what the hell do I do then if I don’t tell them that they have SI joint pain cause it’s out of place than what the hell do I say? No, no, not yet. Yeah, I think. And then that’s really fun and it’s a nice end. We’ll have time to talk about it too because there’ll be a lot of wisdom in the room and hopefully we’ll maybe pull that out.
Karen Litzy: 39:22 Yeah, that sounds great. And I really appreciate those kinds of conversations because then I know that I can kind of take that and use that with my patient population on Monday. Or Tuesday, whatever day. But you know, the next day in clinic.
Greg Lehman: 39:38 That’s the idea. I don’t want to hammer people with research. I know I won’t do that. That’s for sure. That’s easy. I could do that. And it’ll be entertaining by your life. Go. Well I got some more research, but it’ll probably be more practical. Right. And we’re real, more practical story.
Karen Litzy: 39:52 Nice. And I look forward to, you know, the two of you speaking together, I think we’ll be entertaining and educational and I look forward to that kind of play that you guys will most likely have off of each other. I’m reading his book and you brought the bread holding, which is exactly where I am. And it reminded like in the breath holding chapter, you know, he said like the people who had like, who broke these records or who could really hold their breath the longest are the people who knew that someone was there to pull them up if they needed it. Yeah. And so when I think about that as it compares to pain, like especially persistent pain, I wonder if you knew like you had an out, would that pain still be as persistent? So that’s what got me thinking listening to this chapter was like, hmm, if you knew your pain had a safety net, how would that change your view of your pain?
Greg Lehman: 41:03 Oh, that’s interesting. No, and I think what you’re talking about has actually more ramifications for the negative aspects, right? Because most people think, oh, this will pass, but there’s some that think that this won’t pass. And Yeah. And that’s why there is no optimism. And that’s of building that where, there’s no reason for them to think that it will change. And that’s kind of what we have to do is build that model that there’s a possibility for change.
Karen Litzy: 41:35 Yeah. And before we’re going to wrap things up in a second, but Kate Pratt said, well, I find one of the greatest sources of misinformation to patients about pain and biomechanics is their MD/ortho. As PTs we hopefully consistently educate our patients. Do you think it’s possible to educate MD’s or orthos regarding pain and how would you begin to approach such a scenario? So I think she means as the individual clinician with, you know, the referring physician or the physician who’s seeing that patient.
Greg Lehman: 42:11 Yeah. I mean in general, I think that’s a problem across the board of all professions. How we change our colleagues, view the docs, like our colleagues. And I’m not really sure cause you would assume that has to happen at a school level, right at the training there and at a conference level. So it’s really conferences in schools who are open to, you know, providing the different messages there. But I would say, and we’ve talked a lot about this is when you do have patients who have these beliefs from their doctors or other healthcare providers, which is super common, there are routes that you can, you know, still address those beliefs without throwing the doctor under the bus and that’s what you have to figure out. So often it’s more like acknowledging yeah, that’s, you know, you have hip pain because he has OA or something you can say that’s part of it.
Greg Lehman: 43:15 This is the my optimism approach. Yeah. The hip OA is part of your hip pain, but you can still do great even though you have those changes on the scan. And that often really helps, especially with when physios and like we’re navigating referral sources. And it’s so funny that you bring, I just got, I just like 10 minutes ago before we started, I got a referral from a sport MD who was in the course. I taught with JFS school. On running five years ago and said, are you seeing patients? And like it was so funny that she was in the course because you don’t normally see MDs. Yeah. You know, taking courses with the PTs. Great to do that. And so that’s how we have to change. You use it somehow get into that educational system.
Karen Litzy: 44:01 Yeah, I agree. And from a one on one. I think it’s difficult. I mean
Karen Litzy: 44:11 What I’ve done once that worked with the referring physician was, you know, I said, hey, you know, we’re doing this, this, this and this, but I found this article, do you want to take a look and let me know what you think? Cause I’m thinking of incorporating it. And it was like an, I don’t know, I think it was an article, Moseley or Peter O’sullivan. And so I sent them that and then he was like, oh yeah, that’s really interesting. Yeah, definitely start doing that. So that’s a way you can kind of maybe start.
Greg Lehman: 44:44 Yeah. O he or she just rolled with your resistance maybe. No, I totally agree. Yeah. I think we’re good.
Karen Litzy: 45:00 It’s so hard, but it’s a way to be diplomatic. It’s a way to say, you know, I don’t know.
Greg Lehman: 45:08 I really liked that you just sold a good treatment plan and then you gave them other research behind it. That’s nice. Yeah. That’s probably better than saying you’re an idiot.
Karen Litzy: 45:20 Yeah. Well, yeah. But I mean I also find that like I had one doctor that came back to him and he’s also a good friend of mine. He was like, that’s really interesting. Like we need to talk more about it. Oh, that’s cool. Which is awesome, you know? But he’s also a friend began, you know, we played softball together. So it’s like the different opinions.
Karen Litzy: 46:01 Chris Johnson said to say thanks for carving out the time you need to stop picking your eye. Always exercise diplomacy and avoid creating a disconnect. It doesn’t accomplish anything. And that’s in regards to Kate’s question that we just tried to answer. Like I’m bringing a course to New York City and we’re going to have like a free two hour preview of it and just invite doctors.
Greg Lehman: 46:44 Wow.
Karen Litzy: 46:45 That’s, you know, one way to do it if you want to get them involved in the educational process with Physios, which I think is great.
Greg Lehman: 46:52 One of my best course ever in Toronto here was, we had three physiatrists that came and they were fantastic. That’s awesome. Go into this stuff. It was a bit, some of it seemed a bit new, but they’re open and like, and then the email to everyone after and they share their experiences. I love when you have multi disciplinary people at the course. There are some, I mean I’m not throwing MDs under the bus. They certainly, it’s so hard. I have a friend who was an MD and he’s like the best motivational interviewer. He was so good. Like he knew this thing is that as patients had to do, but you know, in Canada you only have eight minutes with them. Yeah. And there or whatever. Anyways, so I’m off topic.
Karen Litzy: 47:42 So let’s wrap things up here. Are there any presentations you’re looking forward to seeing at the conference?
Greg Lehman: 47:48 Rob Whiteley. Yeah. I really like is like career and that the stuff he’s done and what he’s doing there, you know. I’m a socialist I like exercise for everybody and I like the name to change things. But I have trouble like arguing with exercise. It’s amazing. It’s jam packed like there, there’s so many. So that’s one of the reasons I wanted to go cause you know, I would have, it’d be nice to go to that conference as well.
Karen Litzy: 49:22 Well, I am looking forward to your talk with Alex. I will obviously finish his book within the next week, so that’s very exciting. And I’ve already taken your class and read your free resource. So I feel like I’m like ready for it.
Greg Lehman: 49:39 I’ll bring something new.
Karen Litzy: 49:42 I’ll come armed with lots of questions. All right. So before we hop off, where can people find you?
Greg Lehman: 49:49 Just my website I guess, which is Greglehman.ca. Which I hardly do anything on and then Twitter, same thing. Twitter is my favorite. I like the discussions on Twitter, even cultivate them, trying to keep them polite and nice and you know. So Facebook, Nah, it’s for the trolls.
Karen Litzy: 50:15 I think. Yeah, I guess it depends anyway. Again, a whole other conversation. Yes.
Greg Lehman: 50:21 No, I’m doing a big thing on Facebook right now. I shouldn’t say that.
Greg Lehman: 50:29 Yeah. Cause we have like a podcast with me and Oh, I have a podcast, I guess. Never. It’s, well it’s Adam, it’s Meakins podcast, but I’m the cohost so I guess is mine. I don’t know. When do you get part of that? I’ve done three with them. I’m just baggage. I’m a carry on.
Karen Litzy: 50:52 Yeah. I think, I think you need, you need a little bit more. I don’t think that three really qualifies as like a permanent cohost.
Greg Lehman: 51:01 Oh yeah, yeah. I don’t think I want that.
Karen Litzy: 51:03 No, no, no. You’re still like a guest cohost, give it a couple more and then I think you’re in.
Greg Lehman: 51:08 Okay. Well we’re doing like a thing on neurodynamics like their dynamic techniques. And so I wanted to poll people and see what people thought. You know, I was curious what people thought, what the hell we were doing when we do them for that.
Karen Litzy: 51:27 I use them, I use them. And oftentimes in people who are a little fearful of movement.
Greg Lehman: 51:33 Yeah. So what does that tell you what you’re doing? Or you really like manipulating the nerve to, you know, feed them more oxygen or something. Getting someone moving again?
Karen Litzy: 51:45 I think you’re getting someone moving again, I think you’re taking them to a place where they can stay within a relative comfort zone and you can kind of see, I think what I use it is because you can see some changes pretty quickly. And so I think patients then get a little more confident that they can move because they can see those changes pretty quickly. So that’s why I like to use them is to give people some hope.
Greg Lehman: 52:15 It’s a modification.
Karen Litzy: 52:18 So that’s why I use them, but I use them quite a bit just because I think, I think that they work very well. The only time I don’t use them was really with like one person who said I was doing all these nerve glides and now it made my arm so much worse.
Greg Lehman: 52:37 It’s like everything.
Karen Litzy: 52:38 You know, but I don’t know how many, what they were doing, why they were doing them, what explanation they were given. I have no idea that I just sort of held off for a little bit and had the move a different way. But yeah. So that’s why I use them.
Karen Litzy: 52:59 So if no one else has any questions. So Agnes said that she’ll play softball with me in Vancouver.
Greg Lehman: 53:08 Tell her I’m going trampolining and rock climbing.
Karen Litzy: 53:15 I would go trampolining but I really just like bungee trampoline.
Greg Lehman: 53:19 Let’s do stuff.
Karen Litzy: 53:20 Well you’re attached to a bungee and then you obviously go down and then you can go up and flip like two, three times in the air and come back down again. You can’t twist, but I did do a double layout. Yeah, it was pretty cool. But yeah, I would definitely play softball. I will bring my glove and I can do some trampolining. I wouldn’t have done it 10 years ago or five years ago because of my neck, but now I can do it. Yeah, totally can.
Karen Litzy: 54:14 Just so people know when Greg and I were at the align conference a couple of weeks ago in Denver, Colorado and he had his daughter Betty with him cause it was her birthday weekend and she was his personal photographer just so that it made him look better than everyone else because he had personal Paparazzi. And she was just super adorable and doing back walkovers and she probably would’ve done a lot more, but we were at a conference on the first day.
Karen Litzy: 55:21 She was very sweet and that’s who we’re talking about. All right. And I’m going to edit all of this out before I put it out on a podcast. Thank you everyone so much for listening and sorry for rambling at the end. If no one else has any questions, I just want to thank you all for listening and make sure you go and click on the link on this Facebook page. Should take you to the website for the Third World Conference in sports physical therapy. Again, it’s October 4th and fifth, and Vancouver. Greg is speaking with Alex Hutchinson and I think that’s going to be a highlight of the conference. You don’t want to miss it. So Greg, thanks so much for hopping on the call and sorry for the technical difficulties. Thank you so much and we’ll try and put all the information that we spoke about in the comments section here. So thanks everybody. And Greg, thanks again.
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