Here is the full transcript of Foundation Training creator Dr. Eric Goodman’s TEDx Talk presentation on The Unexpected Physical Consequences of Technology at TEDxAmericanRiviera conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio: Dr. Eric Goodman on The Unexpected Physical Consequences of Technology at TEDxAmericanRiviera
So I believe each and every one of you is completely capable of getting yourselves out of chronic pain, getting yourself stronger than you ever imagined possible. I believe that most of you that are suffering chronic pain or know somebody that is suffering chronic pain is doing so unnecessarily. And I think the way that we react to pain, the way we think of pain is wrong.
We have warning signs that our body tries to tell us. These warning signs come in the form of the very chronic common pains that we have — back pain, hip pain, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, the things we get on a daily basis that we really have no idea how to treat it. And because they can’t be treated, they have to be changed. These chronic pains, these ailments, these repetitive stress injuries that we have are more a product of poor movement patterns over time than any other factor.
I want to tell you a little bit about warning signs and what they are usually. The first warning sign a person is going to get is going to be back pain. Your body is going to tell you something is going on. You’re going to go to your doctor. They’re going to say you have a herniation; you have a bulging disc; you have disc degeneration, [after] degeneration. And they’re going to treat the pain; they’re going to teach you how to get rid of the pain instead of listening to exactly what your body is trying to tell you, which is that you’re moving wrong. And the wear and tear from moving wrong eventually leads to a continued expected typical breakdown pattern that most of us go through. In fact, 80% of people in this country alone will experience chronic — not acute — chronic back pain at some point in their lifetime, and that’s absurd. Something is going wrong. There is a fundamental flaw in human movement.
You see, modern conveniences — technology, seats, cars, all of these different things have allowed us to adapt complacently to our lifestyle, to our daily life, to what we do. In a single day, we sit all the time. And these things — these warning signs, these herniation, these bulging discs that we get are nothing more than a roadmap to tell us exactly what is going wrong. And it’s actually, if used properly, when your doctor tells you where this herniation is, when your therapist tells you where this bulging disc is, where this movement pattern breakdown is occurring, all it does is gives you the ability to fix yourself.
You can change your movement pattern. You can, instead of complacently adapting to your daily life, actively adapt the way you want to, the direction you want. You can take control of your pain and you can become stronger than any of you ever imagined possible.
I have a lot of herniation myself. In fact, I have a relatively ironic story of being in chiropractic school and being told that I had to get spine surgery. You can’t do that — you cannot get surgery when you’re in chiropractic school. If you do that, get flogged, you get back to the school, and they’d start beating you. They don’t actually do that.
Actually my chiropractic education is what allows me to understand what I understand about moving. It allows me to help people make the changes they need to make, helping them understand what I understand about movement, and ultimately teaching these people just like you’re capable of getting themselves out of chronic pain and becoming stronger than they ever thought possible.
So what I did for myself, when I was in the pain when I was told I had to have surgery, I used my education. I used this understanding of anatomy, this idea that I had of — well, if I’m breaking down, I’m sitting all day in chiropractic school. I’m then going home and studying and sitting while I study. And even though I’m a large strong athletic guy, my body is weak, my stable structure is not a stable as it’s supposed to be. And when I move, when I use resistance exercises, when I play a sport, my body is going to its built-in movement pattern that has adapted to the wrong movement pattern — a pattern that I would imagine just about every one of you is in.
I’ve taught a lot of people how to move, a lot of different kinds of people and almost every one of them shares this one common denominator, this one thing that will determine whether your life is out of chronic pain, whether your life is relatively pain-free with the exception of bumps bruises and acute injuries. And that one common denominator, that thing is the ability to hinge at your hip joints, keeping the front of your body long instead of bending at your spine keeping the front of your body short, just like you’re sitting. I am watching everybody kind of change their sitting position a little bit here. This is usually what happens. I’m doing fine, no — not me; I don’t move like that, but you do.
In fact, I’ve seen a lot of different kinds of people, and I want to tell you a story of two different extremes that both shared the exact same movement pattern, this common denominator, this inability to hinge properly from the hips instead bending improperly abrasively, angrily at the spine. So when you bend at your spine, it starts this typical pattern of breakdown. It’s the reason you go to a doctor and they try to treat your back pain, they try to treat your knee pain, your ankle pain, your hip pain, your carpal tunnel syndrome, whatever it is, your headaches. But they can’t — they can mask it, they can mask the pain but the pain is not the problem. The problem is movement, and what the pain is telling you is where you’ve gone wrong.
So these two stories that I want to tell you about are two good friends of mine. They started off as clients and ultimately became quite a bit more. One of them is a brilliant, brilliant physicist, somebody that’s had a hand in most of the advances we’ve had in modern technology in the past 30 or 40 years. This is a brain that is capable of breaking down phenomena that none of us can understand, making something out of it and then putting it in a way that we can understand. Yet, he couldn’t understand his body’s own fundamental movement pattern and the breakdown in that movement pattern that was leading to his every-day chronic pain and at 60 plus years old, he was in chronic pain for a very long time. And he had the ability to seek answers from the top people in the world but he was still in chronic pain, because he was seeking help instead of helping himself. He was not actively adapting instead of complacently adapting to the rigors of everyday life of sitting. When you’re a physicist, when you’re an engineer, you sit all the time.
The other person I want to tell you about is a very good friend of mine, one of the top triathletes that has ever been. In fact, this man has won the world’s toughest triathlon twice; that’s a pretty serious beat. This guy runs and bikes and swims and can’t sit down for the life and he hates to sit down, he will not stay still. He also happened to train a number of the top athletes in the world. This is a super athlete. He is not like any of us; he is what all of us that are athletes strive to be. Yet he shared the exact same movement breakdown, the exact same common denominator — this inability to hinge at the hips.