Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more


 •  • 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 time Todd Hargrove is writing about The Complexity of Biomechanics, a favourite topic of mine. Todd’s gist is the same as my own detailed rant about “structuralism,” but Todd is pithier than I am (as usual). If you want to get the same ideas much more quickly, read his:

I think this kind of detective work is very cool and I always look forward to applying it to help one of my clients. But that is where things get frustrating, because with biomechanics, as with so many other subjects, the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know as much as you would like to know. And sometimes you don’t know enough for your treatment protocols to make any sense.

However, I am Todd’s more cynical evil twin, and I (invariably) come to bleaker conclusions, more persuaded by his own arguments than he is. For instance, he makes a great case that even the most rudimentary biomechanical equations are fraught with unsafe assumptions and capricious variables. And if that’s true — and I really think it is — then, well, yikes! In my opinion, biomechanics are effectively impossible to apply, for the average clinician, most of the time.