Will this concept ever die?
It was not long ago that Dr. Ellie wrote about the ridiculousness of hearing someone say that “your core is weak,” as an explanation for pain or, frankly, anything else. The idea has surfaced again except THIS time, it isn’t using your core as the reason for your pain.
THIS time it is about your weight. In this article, the authors set out to understand if there is an association between BMI/waist size and having back pain across your lifespan.
Ultimately, it appears that the researchers found an association and people across the healthcare system took to social media…. What did they say! We NEED to let all of you know that your WEIGHT is an issue!
REALLY… We NEED to have a discussion with all of our clients and patients about this?? Here at Sisu, we don’t think so.
Let’s get this straight! This is an association, NOT a cause and effect.
We cannot say, after this research, that you have back pain because of a higher BMI or waist size. This research appears to indicate that we might expect to see more people who experience back pain in a geographical area, that has a higher average BMI.
Healthcare professionals take it upon themselves to teach every person about all of the potential influences (or causes) to their painful condition. It is here that we believe this providers interpretations of this new research can cause more HARM than good.
Do we really think people aren’t aware of their weight?
We (healthcare professionals) were, unfortunately, trained to believe that we have to be yet another person to ENLIGHTEN people to the influences of their weight upon their health and frankly, here at Sisu, we think this notion is ridiculous. Healthcare, and health industry professionals, spew this information without spending much time discussing the persons’ history with their weight and attempts to change, not only their weight, but their behavior and life (and for us, there is no assumption that lifestyle change is even necessary for pain relief).
So we purpose that instead of jumping on the blame train, that weight is the cause of all evil experiences, we work to figure out the person, the human being in front of you and support their current struggles and the reasons they’re there to see you. Which, as physical therapists, happens to be, most frequently: pain.
Keep it real folks… patients are coming to you as a PT, a coach, and healthcare professional to get back to movement and exercise… which WILL help them manage weight.
Don’t derail that intention by explaining their condition in the laziest way possible, “you are overweight, heavy, obese, lazy“, because it might be an association, but it is definitely NOT the cause.
To all the individuals who have been told this information, we at SISU want you to know that you are more resilient and capable than what healthcare might make you feel. We are here to support your journey in all the ways possible. Whether you are managing pain, returning to exercise after time off, or need help with managing progressions in your sport, we are here to help in a body-positive, highly motivating way!