A Holistic (and Effective) Approach to Chronic Pain Resolution: Respecting Dysfunction

A Holistic (and Effective) Approach to Chronic Pain Resolution: Respecting Dysfunction Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic

01 Oct A Holistic (and Effective) Approach to Chronic Pain Resolution: Respecting Dysfunction

Share this!

Barefoot Rehab Admin: Hi! You’ve reached Barefoot Rehab. We can help you!

Chronic Pain Sufferer: Hi. Do you give prescriptions for pain medication?

Barefoot Rehab Admin: No, we don’t.  We fix chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Chronic Pain Sufferer: OK, thanks.  (Dead dial tone).

There is nothing that breaks our hearts at Barefoot Rehab more than a chronic pain sufferer who has lost hope.

The above conversation happened enough times for us to realize, we don’t do “chronic pain management”.  We do “chronic pain resolution”.

Let’s restore hope.

Defining Words

If you’ll remember from previous posts.

Load is work you do.

Capacity is work you’re able to do.

Symptoms are nervous system signals making your conscious mind aware when load has exceeded capacity.

The fourth concept that will add completion to understanding musculoskeletal pain is: Dysfunction.

In medicine, the term for a problem is a “pathology”.

In biomechanics, the term for a problem is a “dysfunction”.  Here, pathologies will be described as dysfunctions in order to be holistic and comprehensive when it comes to reducing symptoms and pain.

What is a dysfunction?

The best way to start grasping dysfunction is through pictures of course.


Being perfectly healthy, with a nice big bucket to live the life you want, with no dysfunctions looks like this:

no dysfunction-symptom-threshold

Having one dysfunction is represented as a dysfunctional block on your graph.


Notice, the above person has a dysfunction, but no symptoms because they are below the symptom threshold.

The below person has one dysfunction and has symptoms because they are above the symptom threshold.


Why are so many people suffering? (You can’t hammer a screw)

People suffer in pain because they disrespect the Law of the Dysfunction.

Think about it.

You try stuff.

You’re in back pain, so someone says “My chiropractor has done wonders for me, you should go see him”.  You try some adjustments that give you relief temporarily, but you have to keep going back and decide, “this isn’t for me”.  You go see your trusted primary physician who says “You probably strained something, go get PT or take these steroids (that nuke your beneficial bacteria in your intestines)”.  The steroids don’t work, so you go to the PT (physical therapist), who puts you on the standard treatment of stim, heat, ultrasound, and gives you exercises to strengthen.”  Frustrated, you give up hope and decide to live in pain.

What’s the dysfunction in the first place?  What type of block is on your radar screen?

Your body is your home and getting out of pain is like rebuilding your home.  You’re putting out fires and building a strong, safe home that will last you to your genetic potential of 120 years.  Your healthcare and fitness team is like your firemen (your emergency medical team), your carpenters/contractors (your dysfunction eliminators), and your interior designers (your fitness team giving you that beloved 6-pack and beautiful behind you desire).

The first moment you see your carpenter trying to hammer a screw (the dysfunction) with a hammer (the solution), you’d fire him.cant-hammer-a-screw

Common sense tells us to use a screwdriver for a screw, a hammer for a nail.


What is the complete and prioritized diagnosis and story of your pain?

Only then, can you choose which solution from which provider will be effective for you.

Without a complete and prioritized diagnosis and story of your pain, you might as well be hammering screws to reduce your pain and live the healthy, happy, and flourishing life you dream of.

Wouldn’t you rather your contractor build your home with the right tools for the job?

The Key to Chronic Pain Resolution (Hammering Nails, Screwing Screws, and Wrenching Nuts)

In order to resolve chronic pain, you need to:

  1. Understand all dysfunctions: Identify all nails, screws, and nuts.
  2. Choose and implement a sweet spot solution for that dysfunction: Match nails with hammers, screws with screwdrivers, and nuts with wrenches.
  3. Take action: Get to work.
  4. Respect the process: It can take 4 months to build a 2800 square foot home. Depending on your condition, it could take days to years to recover from your specific dysfunctions depending on how long you’ve let your disease process go unmanaged.

Understanding all dysfunctions means labeling your dysfunctional blocks.


Once you have labeled your blocks, you pick the best possible solution for those blocks individually (or the solution you’re willing to pursue given your lifestyle, expecting diminishing returns if you choose a less effective option).


Restoring Hope

What are your dysfunctional blocks?

Do you even know what they are?

For the providers and therapists you’ve seen, what dysfunction were they addressing for your body?

Where has the wrong tool been used?

Are you more aware how you can rebuild your body when using the tools?

We’re curious, what is your experience with the above?  Please share comments below.

Share this!

Dr. Chris Stepien, DC, Full-Body ID Certified, ART Certified, CSCS, and CrossFit Level 1 Certified, fixes your annoying and frustrating pains, even when it's been over 6 months and you've seen 3-5 other doctors or therapists without lasting relief Barefoot Rehab in Denville, NJ. And when you're sad, depressed, or not enjoying life, Dr. Chris wants to hug you. He invites you to reach out, no matter what your concern is. Barefoot Rehab is here to serve you.
Gravatar Image

Post A Comment