i SAW 02.06 Trigger Happy

Pain Management in Canada

The talented British Columbian massage therapists have had a problem. They have been required to lower their high training standards so as to conform to the other Canadian provinces! Despite this strange requirement they continue to host industry-leading events like the fabulous, sold-out 2012 Fascia Research Congress 3. This past March they hosted a Pain Management conference with three diverse physical therapists as keynote speakers: Neil Pearson, Diane Jacobs and Jan Dommerholt.

My Time as a Pusher

In February, Jan Dommerholt of Myopain Seminars, was leaving Dubai after a teaching gig. Outside the airport his taxi driver took off just as he was exiting the cab. He was thrown up in the air and used his neck of femur to break his fall. A week later he was back on US soil, wheeling along with some extra metal in place. A month after that he was in British Columbia and I was his ‘pusher’. As such I got to witness some interesting exchanges.

Battle Lines

The two speakers on day one were Neil Pearson and Diane Jacobs. Neil, from beautiful Penticton BC, combines the David Butler neuromatrix theories for effective pain self-management, with both physical therapy and therapeutic yoga. Diane has synthesized a light touch form of manual therapy for pain she calls dermoneuromodulation (DNM). As part of the somasimple group she has attacked the trigger point hypothesis, TrP dry-needling and the treatment of pain using pain (even Butler disagrees with the latter).

The Trigger Point Hypothesis

Jan got day two started by racing through 230 slides in 75 minutes. The audience was bombarded. There were hypotheses, personal stories, soft and hard science. Towards the end he showed some slides of the world-renowned pain specialist Ronald Melzack’s body-self neuromatrix image, the original showing trigger point input – the more recent without. “SomaSimpletons” have jumped on this as proof that Melzack changed his mind. Not true. This year Jan received a personal communication from Melzack stating “Trigger points are a fact. I decided to trim the legend because the first version was too wordy.” Sitting at the back, I was able to judge which presentations grabbed the audience the most by how many people were not playing on their cell phones. They seemed to be very trigger happy.

There’s More

The photo shows Diane and Jan in earnest conversation; there’s me listening in the background. Soon after the conference Diane Jacobs published her own version of events. Read it with caution; it doesn’t tally with what iSAW. Jan concurs and thinks that about 50% of her description of events actually transpired. How does this happen? My next post will provide bullet-point highlights of other speakers’ sayings and findings from this very excellent event.