Travelling and Teaching

Neil Pearson

Tomorrow I head off to the Canadian Rockies to teach for three days, in Banff and then in the town of Golden. Similar to so many of my teaching trips, I am connecting with quite a diverse group of people. In Banff, I am speaking at the Natural Health Practitioners yearly conference. The first day, I present on the topic of pain science. My goal is to shift the manner in which practitioners view pain, chronic pain, and people in pain. I always enjoy morphing such presentations to the differing views of the health care practitioners. It is such a pleasure when people start to ‘get it’, though I find that most of the time we need education well beyond one day to change our beliefs. Outdated pain beliefs are firmly rooted in most of us. On the second full day of teaching at the conference, my role shifts to that of facilitator, providing the participants with experiences and practice in techniques with which to enhance their clinical work with people in pain.

I hope to get a chance to take in a little of the Rockies while I am there – maybe getting out for a run or two, and at least escaping to the outdoors for a walk at lunch. The nights are getting longer, so we should now have until 8:30 before the sun sets.

At the end of the second day, I drive the two hours or so to Golden. The following day I have two presentations. The first is to local regulated health professionals as well as a few yoga teachers. Once again, in this abbreviated time, I will set out to change pain paradigms and introduce innovative pain management practices. Primary care doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, counsellors and nurses always want to know how to explain pain quickly. They also want to know how to instruct their patients so that they quickly learn pain self-management techniques. My hope is to provide some basic information, and to entice them to invite me back for longer education courses. The manner in which we educate and treat people with acute injuries, chronic painful diseases and chronic pain conditions requires so many shifts that we can only scratch the surface in this short period of time. It is an interesting phenomenon, that as much as we discourage our patients from having a ‘quick fix’ perspective, this is often how our education processes are treated.

Then on Saturday afternoon, I get to do one of my most favourite things – educate people in pain. This is so rewarding. My job is to make pain science understandable, to explain how the pain system works, how it changes when pain persists, and what we can do about it. We need an optimistic message – one that tells us there is hope beyond relying on medications, on people to fix us, and on our strength of will to ‘learn to live with it’.

If you find all this intriguing, stay tuned as I will explain more of how this education goes.

  • Neil Pearson’s book, Understand Pain, Live Well Again, helps yoga teachers and practitioners to provide students and clients with a new optimistic view of pain management.
  • [tags]Neil Pearson, Life is Now,Natural Health Practitioners conference,pain management, practices. Primary care doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, counselors, nurse, yoga teachers, acute injuries, chronic pain,[/tags]

    Author: Neil Pearson

    Neil Pearson is a yoga therapist, physical therapist and Clinical Assistant Professor at UBC. He provides therapy exclusively for people with complex pain problems. Neil shares his knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pain and pathophysiology through

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