10 Jan The Negotiation
“The negotiation” is a section in my joint project, Gift of Injury, with Dr. Stuart McGill (2017), that depicts a talk between the athlete and the professor. Getting (back) pain-free is just that – a process. Each goal and the respective method will look different depending on many variables. In this article, I will give some insight into how I work with my clients who reach out and explain what I mean by ‘negotiation.’
Each client is unique
Each client has a unique injury and, therefore, unique injury mechanisms that cause back pain. Taking a program constructed for a much different injury and trying to follow it is a shot in the dark at best. There is no one size fit’s all program. This is one inherent problem with physical therapy, aka physiotherapy. Most PTs will follow a cookie-cutter template, with insufficient time with the client/patient to address the root cause. Some people will respond to seemingly minor to no time off and recover. Others will stay in pain for years. At worst, it’s a great way to injure someone not ready for such progressions further.
Each relationship and approach I have is unique to the client. I deal with type-A personalities, which you must hold back to keep from overtraining; juxtaposed to type-B clients, you have to motivate to do even a little bit. With both types of personalities, they will have to give up some, if not all, of their current exercise program. Why? They are most likely hurting DUE to their current workout or endeavor. This is where the negotiations come in. What are you willing to give up to regain your robustness? Each person will have to pay a special price – the piper has to be paid!
The art of coaching
Coaching is an art. You have to know when to push and when to pull back. You have to make sure the client’s goals are reasonable and achievable with your help. If not, then it’s doomed from the start. It takes time to heal a back (years, but it doesn’t mean they’ll be in pain), and I know this from going through it ten years ago. The concepts we preach (found in Back Mechanic) are simple in many cases, i.e., remove the cause but more challenging to commit to.
Keeping the client on track is half the battle
Keeping the client focused on THEIR recovery, and not what anybody else does, has done, or will do, is of utmost importance! If the client is in a rush to return from their injury or is too worried about the latest trends or what their uncle did for their therapy, they will most likely fail. You cannot promise anyone success; they have to do the work!