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I’m Brent – a Vancouver based physiotherapist.

Why Things Hurt is a site I’ve created to share my articles and videos. They’ll help you understand your aches and pains, and give you concrete and simple strategies to help!

  • GETTING STARTED
    An Instructional manual to let you navigate WTH and your body

 

  • TREATMENT TECHNIQUES
    Powerful options that you likely haven’t tried

 

  • MOVEMENT SCHOOL
    An email guided program to improve your posture

 


How Your Body Actually Works: Explained Like You’re 65

Reality is that you are now armed with the wisdom of time, but equipped with an actively degenerating body. You likely now have the time to pay attention to your body, but may have less to work with than you had hoped. Your joints are probably stiffer, your spine has shrunk half an inch and your toes look like a bunch of mashed up, gnarly tree roots. Getting Old Sucks was the title of section one in my book for a reason: our bodies progressively require more and more maintenance over time just to keep them feeling okay. After sixty-five years of abusing your body, you may have resigned yourself to the idea that you can’t change now and that your aches and pains are simply a product of your age. I hope that the next few paragraphs will change your mind. Thirty years is a long time. If you are sixty-five now, there is a reasonable chance that you will live for three more full decades with a body that is continuing to breakdown over time. Think about how much you have done since you were thirty-five, now visualize what you see yourself doing until you are ninety-five. I promise you that you will enjoy your third lap around more if don’t blame things on your age and instead work at improving things that you didn’t have time for in your second lap. You may not be able to go back and fix your gnarly toes or your rounded shoulders, but you can prevent them from getting worse and likely improve them more than you had ever thought possible. Your enjoyment in life for the next thirty years will most likely be closely correlated with your physical strength, mobility and balance in a way you have not experienced ...
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How Your Body Actually Works: Explained Like You’re 35

Your body is comprised of a series sensory feedback loops that help you interact, engage and react to the world around you; you are aware of some of them, but there is a lot going on under the surface that you likely don’t appreciate.  Your brain is constantly barraged by information from your eyes, ears, skin, muscles, joints, ligaments and organs, and it subconsciously decides which information you should really be paying attention to.  Your subconscious usually makes good decisions, but it is very influenced by emotional factors like stress and anxiety.  Your body is always creating new data for your brain, but your mood and personality will strongly impact what you do or don’t attend to mentally.  Pain is a good example of this phenomenon, but it takes a bit more groundwork to explain why this doesn’t just mean that pain is “all in your head.” Your ability to experience pain is an important evolutionary trait that helps your brain determine what is or isn’t safe for your body.  You can sense when something is too hot and may risk damaging your skin, when something is too sharp that it may cut you or if an object is putting too much pressure on you that it could injure tissues.  You live in a busy environment that requires you to sense, react and move in response to the forces around you and within you.  Your body will create a homeostatic resting state that becomes what you experience as your ‘normal,’ and you need to be able to sense when things fall outside of that normal so you can take action to help keep yourself healthy.  Pain is one of the signals that something is not normal, just like fever, altered heart rate, pins and needles, blurry vision, or a change ...
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How Your Body Actually Works: Explained Like You’re 5

Your body is part of who you are; it belongs to you.  You are responsible for it.  Your mother helped you build it, but it’s your job to grow it.  You get to grow your body by moving, seeing, eating, breathing, talking, laughing, touching, smelling, crying, running and jumping.  You get to experience it for about ninety years, that’s almost 33,000 days of doing stuff.  Every time you do something, your body learns.  Every time you try, your body remembers. The more you try, the more you learn.  The more you learn, the more fun your body becomes.  It can learn to run faster, sing better and think deeper when given time and practice. Some people’s bodies’ will learn faster than others and some people’s bodies’ will be bigger than others.  Some will seem smarter and some will seem stronger, but your body is yours and you are responsible to help it learn.  You can learn from watching, and listening, and reading, but nothing is better than actually doing.  You can learn anything you want, you just have to try and try and try, most of the time you won’t be very good at it, but each time you try your body will get a little bit better because it loves to learn. What you do with your body will affect how it feels, inside and out.  On the outside you have skin, a big waterproof suit that keeps all your guts and muscles and nerves on the inside while allowing you to feel everything on the outside.  Skin lets you feel what’s sharp and what’s dull, what’s hot and what’s cold; it is your body’s connection to the world.  When you are young your skin is tight and smooth, but as you get older it gets ...
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Pressing Pause on 7+ healthcare businesses in Vancouver during COVID-19

My name is Brent Stevenson, I am the founder and co-owner of Envision Physiotherapy in Vancouver, Canada.  I, like everyone else in the world right now, am hiding out at home watching society shut down around me while we all try to endure the impacts of a novel virus on an overly connected world.  Some of my friends are front line workers in the hospitals, others are simply working from home on their laptops until further notice, but I am in the complicated position of running a small business that functions as the umbrella for over seven other health related small businesses in Vancouver.  People in Canada don’t naturally think of healthcare and business in the same framework, but most of our allied health services are private businesses with leases and employees to pay. The business owner in me is worried about our bottom line, the healthcare professional in me just wants to help, the entrepreneur in me twirls with the current strange opportunity of time, and the father in me just wants to protect my family.  It is a strange time, but I am determined to make the most out of it and hopefully help as many people as I can by providing something interesting to read or watch other than COVID-19 related news stories.  I will start with the story of Envision Physiotherapy, but I will transition to Why Things Hurt, mental health, posture and the stories that have filled my days as a physiotherapist for the past twenty years.  My goal is to post a new story or video each day and start an active conversation in the comments below to give readers the opportunity to Ask Me Anything. The Story of Envision Physiotherapy: March 1st, 2020 was a big day for Envision Physiotherapy, we had officially ...
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IMS Dry Needling: an expanded explanation of how & why

IMS dry needling is an increasingly popular form of treatment used by physiotherapists in Vancouver, Canada due primarily to the strong influence of local retired physician Dr Chan Gunn. He studied and refined the use of acupuncture needles specifically for treating persistent pain and ran a training and research center in Vancouver over the past thirty years. He engaged physiotherapists that had experience with manual therapy and taught them how to feel and treat inside the muscles instead of just pushing and prodding from the outside. It was a new modality that strayed from traditional acupuncture and pushed physiotherapy outside of its’ customary box. More physiotherapists in Vancouver adopted the new technique than elsewhere due to the local availability of training and the allowance of our regulatory body in British Columbia that permitted physios to puncture the skin. Early adopters of IMS learned from Dr Gunn in the ‘90s, but relatively more and more have adopted dry needling as a staple of physiotherapy practice in the past ten years. I learned from Dr Gunn in 2008, after being exposed to the technique at Diane Lee’s physiotherapy clinic in 2006. In hindsight I am glad that I had some exposure to the dry needling technique in the hands of physios before I learned it directly from Dr Gunn because it helped me put the model that Dr Gunn was teaching in perspective. His model of intramuscular stimulation (IMS) is very valuable and the underlying principle that I apply when needling, but it is too simplistic and limited in its explanation and application. I wrote this article a few years after taking the IMS course to help explain to clients what I was doing and how IMS was different than acupuncture. If you want a history lesson about acupuncture and to see ...
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