Hal S. Blatman, MD, DAAPM, ABIHM

Changing how we approach treating pain

Dr. Hal Blatman challenges us to fundamentally change how we think about pain. He proposes that the human body is a healing vessel, and that with the right approach it can heal itself.

The Interview

I think we need to fundamentally change how we think about pain: what causes it, how we address it, how people heal, and what we can do to help people. There’s two schools of thought in the world. One school of thought is that you have an acute injury, you get acute pain, and then some magic happens that turns acute pain into chronic pain. And once that transformation has happened, then all you can do about it is kill the nerve, interrupt the signal, or make the brain and the nervous system nonfunctional enough that it can’t tell it’s been injured.

The other school of thought is your body will continue to experience that pain until it heals that original injury. That’s the one that seems to be true, because we’ve learned how to feel the texture of fascia, the strings of connective tissue that hold us together. They hold our muscles together. They hold our organs together. And from the texture of what we feel with our fingers, we can tell where the injury is. Just like feeling a dent in the side of a car. You can help the body facilitate its healing process to repair these and then we watch all kinds of chronic pain go away.

The body can heal the injuries that it could never heal before. We watch miracles happen every day. We watch cartilage in a worn out joint regrow. We watch tendons regrow and grow new tendons without an operation. And at the heart of it all, it’s the body that heals itself. We don’t fix anything.

We can fix a broken bone; we can screw it back together, and all that kind of stuff but the body has to heal that fracture. That’s holistic medicine. And all the rest is just the tools and the toolbox and it doesn’t matter which tool you have, as long as you’re moving the body in the direction it needs to go to put itself back together.

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