Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Financially motivated ignorance

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

This classic quote applies to a lot of fields of human endeavour:

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.

Upton Sinclair

Now let’s translate that for this website. How does it apply to manual therapy? Well, the number one thing in the last quarter century that professionals have tended to not understand is that structural factors are surprisingly unimportant in pain and rehabilitation. And yet they are convenient, plausible scapegoats, and so it “pays” to sell therapy for them, resulting in an epidemic of expensive barking up the wrong tree. So …

It is difficult to get a therapist to understand that structural abnormality is rarely meaningful when his job depends on emphasizing it.

That became a popular tweet last week. I also added it to my article on this topic: Your Back Is Not Out of Alignment.

P.S. This is good example of the kind of thing that just strikes as I’m working on other things — I have updated articles like this probably several thousand times over the years.