Home

Welcome

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

 


IMS Dry Needling: Stories from an Outspoken Physiotherapist

A few years ago I posted this article (What is IMS acupuncture? Intramuscular Stimulation vs Traditional Acupuncture) on my blog largely as a resource for my clients, because inevitably, about three needles into treatment, clients would ask “how is this different from acupuncture again?”  What started as a patient education piece turned into a learning experience for me, in that I discovered how different groups of people had strong and differing opinions about the technique I was using and how I chose to explain it.  I had entered the turf war of dry needling.  Some acupuncturists were telling me that IMS simply was acupuncture, while others were telling me that my explanation was ‘just bollocks,’ and I should stop misleading people.  Meanwhile a retired physician and an aging physiotherapist were telling me that dry needling had been ‘debunked years ago,’ but local physicians and hundreds of previous clients were actively referring patients and friends to me specifically for IMS treatment.  It is an interesting time in the world of treating people’s pain! I learned to perform IMS (intramuscular stimulation) from its’ originator and guru in his field, retired physician, Dr. Chan Gunn in 2008.  At the time, I did not know the history of dry needling or the fact that Dr. Gunn had been praised for his work by some and criticized by others, but in my mind, the innovators that stir the pot of the status quo are the ones worth following.  I happened to live and work in Vancouver, the city that Dr. Gunn ran his training center called iSTOP (Institute for the Study & Treatment of Pain) which resulted in Vancouver having the most IMS practitioners than anywhere in the world simply due to the ease of access ...
Read More
/ in Blog, Education

Is your head twisted? Cranial Nerves: A missing link for head, face and body pain

Hello from down a rabbit hole!  I have now officially taken ten post-graduate courses in a manual therapy approach to assessing and treating the body called osteopathy.  Specifically, I have focussed on two techniques called visceral and neuromeningeal manipulation (NM).  Visceral manipulation (VM) refers to the use of my hands to treat fascial restrictions around organs that may be causing physical restrictions to blood flow, movement, alignment and posture, while Neuromeningeal manipulation is the act of treating the nerves, membranes and brain itself by means of light touch. I recently just completed a course called NM4 where I learned all about the role of the cranial nerves and how to affect them with my hands to help my clients.  Your cranial nerves extend out of the base of your brain and branch to provide the electrical wiring to your face, eyes, head and organs.  They are kind of important to your daily life, but largely fly under the radar until they get annoyed for one reason or another.  They can be responsible for headaches, eye pain, ringing in the ears and even referred sensitization and irritation into the body due to their connection to numerous organs through the vagus nerve. As a person who has woken up with a headache every day for two years since my eye injury, I found this class fascinating.  My empathy for people with head and face pain is substantial so I tried to learn as much as I could from this class to help my clients and hopefully myself. There are twelve cranial nerves: I- Olfactory-smell II- Optic-vision III- Oculomotor- eye movement IV- Trochlear- eye movement V- Trigeminal- movement & sensation to your face, tongue, nose, ear VI- Abducent- eye movement VII- Facial- facial expressions & taste VIII- Vestibulocochlear- sound & balance IX- Glossopharyngeal- swallowing, speech, taste X- Vagus- ...
Read More
/ in Blog, Necks, Pain

A step by step guide to addressing your pain and creating long term change in your body

Pain can come in many forms and for a variety of reasons, but most of the time there is something that you can and should do about it other than take medications.  Suffering from chronic pain can be a defeating place to find yourself, but if you become part of the solution by assertively educating yourself, seeking the right help and being open to change, you can usually win the battle.  This post outlines the steps I recommend you follow to take control of your health both physically and mentally and get the help you need. Step 1: Don’t Panic Step 2: Learn Step 3: Network & Ask for Help Step 4: Treatment Step 5: Maintenance & Prevention Step 1: Don’t Panic It is really hard to think logically and objectively when you have been in pain for an extended period of time.  Irrational fears can cloud your judgement and Googling your symptoms can create fear and confusion.  Try to become mindful of the fact that you may be getting pulled down a rabbit hole of misleading information and mind fogging medications.  As best you can, try to zoom out from the pain and try to look at yourself in the context of where you are and where you want to be.  Create a physical and mental goal to anchor your purpose and then start learning what it will take to get you there. You are the only person that has to live with your pain on a moment to moment basis and you are the only person that has the control to change it.  You will likely have to change some of your behaviors, step outside of your comfort zone and ask for help from people you don’t know.  It is journey that may take longer than you expect ...
Read More

Stomach Pain: A mechanical explanation & a pill-free treatment

Back pain is the number one complaint that brings people into my office for physiotherapy treatment, but rarely do people have just one issue.  Many times people have a handful of symptoms, but either don’t think they are related, or don’t think it is necessary to mention it to their physiotherapist.  Most people see stomach pain as an issue for their doctor and/or something they just have to live with, but in my experience doctors just prescribe symptom treating pills that don’t get at the crux of the problem.  Stomach pain very much can be an acid balance problem, but it also can very commonly be a mechanical issue related to your mid back and the physical mobility of your stomach. After learning the osteopathic approach of visceral manipulation, I started considering the physical toll people’s organs can have on their alignment and their pain.  I started noticing and feeling the tension in people’s abdomens and ribcages in a different way because I had a better understanding of how the anatomy is attached to the inside of their ribcage and spine.  More often than not, a client would come to see me complaining of mid to lower back pain, but I started asking “are you having any stomach problems,” because I started to pick up on a particular pattern of restriction in their mid-back and upper stomach.  Enough clients started saying “how did you know?” that I started sensing that I was on to something. Your stomach is a muscular bag that sits in the upper left quadrant of your abdomen and is squished up against your liver and under your diaphragm.  To do its job properly it needs to be able to muscularly churn your food which requires mobility relative to its neighboring ...
Read More

My Book is Almost Here!!

I am excited to announce that my goal of writing and publishing a BOOK is becoming a reality this year!

Over the past five years I have written numerous articles and created over fifty videos as resources for my clients and the general public to help give them a context for how their bodies work.  Until recently I have kept those videos in the members section of this site and held off promoting anything about WhyThingsHurt.com because I wanted to focus on quality content.

In the past year I haven't posted much new content to this site because I have been working hard to organize and expand the information into a book to help my followers learn things in a more appropriate order.  I have used client and personal stories to tie together relevant information about how your body and mind function and ultimately to explain Why Things Hurt.

My new book will be titled:

Why Things Hurt: Life lessons from an injury prone physical therapist

(available Spring/Summer 2016)

In the lead up to my book launch, I will be completely redesigning the structure and function of this website.  I will be eliminating the members section and have already loaded all of the videos onto my YouTube Channel.  I am working on creating a variety of playlists to help provide direction of what order to watch the videos and to do the exercise progressions.  The new site (March/April) will have the YouTube videos integrated into the written blog posts and a gallery of playlists specific to different issues.

Reading my book will make the new website infinitely more useful because you will develop a big picture understanding of how your body and mind work and then can use this site to help you work on the specifics that are important to you.

Over the ...
Read More
/ in Blog, book launch, Brent on Business
Click for more articles

(Visited 5,858 times, 1 visits today)

Follow me

Visit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Facebook

Subscribe to the Movement School

Update Me! Get notified when Brent writes a new post

*No Junk! I promise! Boo Junk!