So as the end of the year draws in I thought I would use my last blog of 2015 to look back and reflect on some of the key events that have occured over the last 12 months. It has been a busy year, I’ve launched a podcast, had some editorials published, written a chapter for a new edition for a very well known sports medicine book. I have also started some clinical research, been invited to talk at various conferences and events across the world, and even had one of my twitter drawings appear as a front cover of the British Journal of Sports Medicine. All in all its been an amazing year!
I want to start this review of 2015 by offering my genuine, heart felt thanks and gratitude to all of you who have contributed, shared, and supported my little blog page, and of course I want to thank you all for reading, sharing and putting up with my bad speeling and terrible, grammar:!
So without further ado here is my review of the best bits of 2015, enjoy!
The first event of significance in 2015 was the Danish Sports Kongres in Copenhagen in January. I was extremely humbled, and a little surprised to be invited to speak at this event by Dr Thomas Brandholm and Dr Kristian Thoborg and I would like to thank them again for asking an unknown, gobby, and controversial physio from the UK to come and speak at their event, mixing me in with some of the big names of sports medicine and rehab. It was a huge privilege.
I wrote a full review of the conference here, but I want to reiterate some points. First, I found the conference to be one of the best I have been too, extremely well organised, with a lot of great content, but the most endearing aspect of this conference was the relaxed and friendly feel it had, with everyone happy to talk and discuss with everybody else, no qualification biases at all, well mostly. I have also never been to a conference where the organisers put on a Pulp Fiction dancing competition, and everyone, and I mean everyone, gets up and dances at the disco from the first song to the last.
The Danish Sports Kongres is now a firm fixture in my diary and I am looking forward to 2016’s on 4-6th February in Kolding, Denmark, I hope to see you there, full details are here
Cognitive Functional Therapy
The next event of significance was in March when I attended Prof Peter O’Sullivan Cognitive Functional Therapy workshop in London. It was enlightening to hear Peter talk and show us the evidence of how past and current methods for the management of low back pain are pretty much ineffective.
It was also great to be able to watch him assess and treat real patients and see how he interacts. Peter is well known for doing live assessments and treatments in front of the audience, and this takes guts, no question about that, but I also think its a little bit of showmanship. However, what I found most reassuring was that even a clinican of Peter’s acclaim and experience doesn’t always get results.
One of his live demonstrations on young man with chronic low back pain just didn’t go to plan, with the patient becoming more agitated and more painful as the assessment went on. But the other demonstrations Peter did went really well and you could see how his approach works so well. It was also good to finally meet the internet legend that is Greg Lehman at this workshop.
Reconciling biomechanics with pain science
And talking of Greg Lehman, this leads nicely onto my next event for 2015, Gregs reconciling biomechanics with pain science course in June. Greg is well known for challenging dogma and claims made about the mechanisms and effects of manual therapy as well as exercise interventions, and as he keeps saying he has been doing this for over two decades.
Greg took us through a tour of the evidence around biomechanics and pain in various areas of the body, low back, shoulder, hip, and knee. He took us through the research that asks questions of what we thought we knew, and went on to show how we dont need to ‘throw the baby out with the bath water’ when it comes to our management and treatments. Greg summed up how we can continue to do ‘some’ of the things we do, but we need to change the advice and explanations behind them.
Now I can’t let a review of 2015 go without mentioning the whole dinosaur gate controversy. I dont want to dwell on this too much as I think its been discussed, argued, and debated to death. Just to say that upon reflection the experience has been mostly positive for me.
I’ve learnt a few things about myself and others, i’ve learnt that I need to be a little more careful with my wording and comments, especially around the more sensitive and politically correct types. But I have also learnt that I can hold my own against the wrath of the guru’s and their sycophantic drones and disciples, and that I can write a peer reviewed editorial on the topic that gets over 5,000 reads in its first month.
I’ve also learnt to avoid engaging with some individuals who cannot avoid the logical fallacies of appealing to authority, or who can not debate without changing the point at issue. Lasly I have learnt not to recommend or refer anyone to a certain physiotherapy company that sounds like ‘Poor Sprouts Bedouin’
The NAF podcast
Now 2015 has also seen the start of my very own podcast, the NAF physio podcast. It was first meant to be a one off, something I thought I would never do seriously, or have the time to do, or more importantly people would listen to. However with the generous help, assistance, guidance and mentorship of my producer, editor, and sensei Master Erik Meria, the NAF has grown into something of a half decent podcast.
I’ve been fortunate enough to get some great guests on such as Jack Chew, Tom Goom, Peter Gettings, Neil Langridge, the wonderful and lovely Sandy Hilton and Sarah Haag, Mick Thacker, Anju Jaggi and Steve Tolan. All these interviews have been different, some entertaining, some interesting, some a bit of both, but hopefully all have been different, relaxed, informal and conversational in style, and of course very sweary.
I am looking forward to what 2016 holds for the NAF and I have plans to bring you more great interviews and content that tries to take our oh so serious and stuffy, and at times pretentious profession a little less seriously, and in the words of Neil Maltby become a bit more human
The Shoulder Complex
This year has also seen the amazing and humbling popularity of my shoulder course. I will admit it has been a shaky start, with some of the early courses being less than perfect, with sections that were weak and needed refining, and some that have been cut out completely. Its been an exciting and nerve raking experience all at the same time, but I am now confident the content is robust, evidence based and more importantly entertaining. I feel more and more confident in critiquing the dogma and over complicated bull shit that surrounds the assessment and treatment of the shoulder.
The course has been going for nearly two years now and it continues to grow and evolve each time I do it, mainly thanks to all who come and engage and give me all your input and feedback, so I would like to thank all who have attended one of my courses and put up with me ranting and raving, and of course swearing for two whole days… You are all superstars!
And finally I could not not do a review of 2015 without mentioning my favourite social media site Twitter. This year has seen some great, and not so great debates, discussions, and of course arguments. Personalities have emerged and faded, ego’s have been built and crushed, dogma challenged and defended, and of course personal differences aired and expressed.
With all the issues and problems this can cause and the negativity it can create, I am still adamant that the positives by far out weigh the negatives. I have seen more and more clinicans engaging, learning, and developing with social media. I have seen and discussed with professional bodies who have begun to realise the advantages and benefits social media can give and create, and I hope it continues to grow our professions profile and pulls it firmly into the 21st century!
Its been nearly three years since I started on Twitter seriously and professionally with this blog site as its partner. Since then I have aquired over 27,000 followers, this blog has nearly 30,000 subscribers, with nearly 3 million page reads, and on average a staggering 10-15 thousand views per day… Which is just mind boggling…
So I will sign off 2015 with a huge heart felt thank you to you all who read, commented and shared these blogs, it is truly humbling and flattering. I wish you all a fabulous festive season and hope you have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016