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People with persistent pain feel frustrated by how pain limits them. They want to know where to start and they want to know they are getting better.
When these clients initially contact me looking for guidance to overcome their pain, their most common question is, “Do you think you can help me?”
During this initial conversation (also called a Strategy Session), I ask about their specific situations. And I listen to be sure they possess certain traits.
Some exceptions exist, but the majority of my successful clients possess four traits.
Trait #1: Successful clients have tried multiple approaches without significant, long-lasting relief.
From acupuncture. stretching, and exercises to injections, massage, and medication, nothing they’ve tried has provided more than temporary relief.
Kelly recalls, “I had worked with four physical therapists previously, and I felt like I just really wasn’t making progress. They kept having me start with easy exercises, but as soon as we moved on to the harder ones, my knee would hurt more. So I was really fed up and looking for something that would work.”
Gary echoes this experience, stating, “Even after going to several different doctors, and two physical therapists, a personal trainer, and doing everything I could on my own, it just wasn’t able to solve my problem.”
Trait #2: When successful clients decrease their activities they feel better, but when they resume the activities, the pain returns.
Rest typically helps my clients, but rest alone is not the solution.
If these clients avoid the activities that aggravate pain for long enough-- it might take several weeks-- the pain dissipates. Sometimes it goes away completely. But when they try to resume biking, jogging, gardening, squatting, or whatever it was that previously caused their pain, they start hurting again.
These clients recognize they need to get stronger. But when they exercise their muscles, their pain increases. They are tired of hurting themselves. They need a solution for strengthening that doesn’t cause more pain.
Trait #3: Successful clients are not great candidates for surgery.
Some clients have had a prior surgery that “didn’t work” or that didn’t completely solve their problem.
Others have had an X-ray or MRI that did not show anything was wrong, or at least nothing that surgery will fix.
If they have joint pain, their doctor does not describe it as “bone on bone.”
Sometimes their physician has offered to perform an arthroscopic surgery to go in and look around to see if there’s anything wrong-- anything that did not show up on an MRI or X-ray.
An orthopedist may have told them that eventually they’ll need a joint replacement, but due to their age or the fact that their X-rays aren’t “bad enough,” it isn’t recommended right now.
Gail states “I was quite concerned about what the long run would be as far as degeneration of my joint. I see people with knee replacements in my line of work, and of course, that was a place I didn’t want to go.”
Trait #4: Successful clients are highly motivated with at least one specific goal.
Pain relief is only part of the solution for my clients. They are frustrated by their current limitations, and they want to get rid of their pain so they can return to one or more specific activities.
Nikolai states, “Coaching like this takes a lot of guesswork out of the equation.”
To hear more about the traits of successful clients, watch this video:
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