Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Rest in peace, Ronald Melzack

Last night I heard about this. Details are scant so far but Ronald Melzack has died, just a few days ago. Lars Avemarie, a very prolific writer, archiver. and Scandinavian physiotherapist wrote a comprehensive tribute immediately after. Here is his wonderful factual blogpost
These are sad sad days.

I first encountered his thinking sometime around 2000, when I started reading Topical Issues in Pain by Louis Gifford, 5 books in the series. Melzack had written an introduction in one of them that quickly entranced me, so much so that I have been a firm fan ever since.

In the early 2000's I agitated a few other physios I knew to band together and get a pain science special interest group together within the profession. Eventually, we succeeded. In 2010 I traveled to Montreal to the IASP congress there, mostly to attend a reception in Melzack's honour, fangirl that I was and still am. It was and still is the highlight of my life to have been in a photo with him. 

In 2013 I went a bit nutty; in an uncharacteristically ambitious state fueled by passion for his thinking I wrote a very long blog series based on a paper he wrote with Joel Katz, titled simply "Pain." 

Here is a link to a blogpost that contains all the links to all the various parts of my dogged intense study of this paper, sentence by sentence, if anyone cares to wade through them. I went through every single reference in the reference list too.  It took a number of months and I faithfully blogged almost every single day. It was quite the journey. (Alas, several of the images I posted were clawed back by google bots, but many remain.) 

Now that he is gone the world of pain science has a great big hole in it. I shall miss him as long as I remain alive.

Edit Jan 7, 2020:
Tributes pour in

Monday, December 23, 2019

End of the year stuff

I have neglected this blog for a long time. 
It's the end of the year already. 
End of the decade. The decade!
My birthday yet again, sigh.

Having a birthday at the end of the year sucks because it makes you think about how old you are squished in along with the end of the year, and this year the end of a decade. Often I think about it as if I were strapped spread-eagled on a wheel of fortune, the wheel takes a whole year to revolve, every December that brake hits me on the head and gives me another concussion. I don't think life feels like that to everybody (lucky everybody else!), but it does to me. 

I've been busy off-blog, mostly watching John Vervaek's videos, discussing important matters with people on facebook (mostly important for the next five minutes at least), taking time off clinical work (like, the entire month of December plus an extra week before and after), getting ready for the coming year, which will be exhausting for the first 6 months but after that not quite as much. Then in 2021, I'll taper off, and in 2022, I'll take the whole year off. I'll be 71 that year. 

Will I return to working after 2022? Clinically? Traveling and teaching? Not sure. Maybe I won't need to financially but I might want to, or maybe I'll still want to be involved somehow but don't know yet what that will look like. Maybe I'll move out of this remote location to somewhere closer to the airport and set up a school people can get to easier, and where I can teach when I feel like it but won't have to travel. 
Maybe (also, or instead) I'll take up painting or something else visual and non-verbal to exercise rusty cognitive pathways. 

All I know about all this is that it feels really weird to me, to be getting "old."
Everyone else I graduated with retired ages ago, and two people from that class including my closest friend have died from cancer. Weirdly, on the inside, I still feel exactly the same as I did then, or even more like that, now that the pressure is much less intense than it was when I was a baby adult starting out with only hope and stress and foibles foisted in childhood and a license to touch people that I managed to acquire somehow, thanks to people around me who would lift me up whenever I would fall down. 

John Vervaeke's videos have fed my brain for months now, in spite of the fact that I didn't even realize it was hungry for this stuff:
  1. Awakening from the meaning crisis
  2. Buddhism and cognitive science
  3. Cognitive science
  4. John Vervaeke's talks with other people on youtube, long conversations where he puts into practice everything he actually stands for.

Suffice to say, the guy seems to be really onto something. And I trust him (no small thing, because my trust level for youtubers is pretty low, generally), where he's going, where he wants to go, and how he's getting there. 

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Some DNM studies have appeared

  1. Mathankumar, K (2019) Effectiveness of Dermoneuromodulation on Pain Reduction and Shoulder Internal Rotation Improvement in Post Operative Slap Tear among Athletes: An Experimental study. Masters thesis, RVS College of Physiotherapy, Coimbatore.
  2. Nishar Basha, K A (2019) A Study on the Effectiveness of Dermoneuromodulation on Neck Pain and Disability among Patients with Cervical Spondylosis. Masters thesis, RVS College of Physiotherapy, Coimbatore.
These researchers are physio students in India. In 2018, Louise Tremblay went there to teach DNM.
Her efforts clearly have borne some fruit! It is exciting to see these masters-level studies starting to appear.