How I became Mr Pain
Updated: Feb 6
This is the first in a series of blogs about pain; what it’s doing to us, how we’re coming to terms with it, and how we can help ourselves and others become pain-free.
The blogs will be useful to individuals and more especially to managers who, till now, have not been able help their employees deal with pain in a
meaningful, cost-effective way.
They’re also based on my personal experience, so let’s start with an introduction. My name is Matthew Green and for the past few years I’ve been on a mission to normalise the conversation about pain and to make physical health accessible to everyone.
Before building BodyGuide, I was a Myotherapist (physical therapy). For 10 years, I ran my own clinic, as well as a Telehealth business with patients all over the world. It was a good job. In fact, by the time I left, people were paying me $350 an hour to help them hurt less. Feedback was great, referrals were rolling in.
So why did I leave it? Well, I had two important revelations.
Revelation 1: people need to be taught body literacy
It didn’t matter how much I charged, or who I was working with, I was still teaching the same things to my patients. Here’s how your hips work. Here’s how your shoulder position is affecting you neck. Here’s why your back muscles are overactive... and here’s how emotions can play a role. I knew deep down that I was not teaching rocket science. I was no genius healer. I was simply in an industry where the customer (patient) knew too little to feel any sense of confidence. There has never been large scale education campaigns for pain & body literacy, the way there has been for mental health, obesity and other population health issues.
And so, for someone in pain, it can be bloody scary. The idea that our body has broken down, that it doesn’t work like it used to, is deeply traumatic. So traumatic that people spend thousands of dollars to see if they can reverse the damage.
The more I was exposed to people distressed by pain, the more I became laser focused on education. Once you teach someone ‘why’ they are sore, the fear and anxiety starts to fade. Confidence to move increases. People get better.
In an industry full of people giving massages and pain relief treatments, I knew someone needed to bang the drum for education. Someone had to teach people about how their body works, rather than simply profit when it doesn’t.
Revelation 2: health should not be only for the wealthy
As I said, I was an expensive provider. People were happy to pay but deep down I knew there was more to my career than pricing out people who didn’t have money.
I believed, and still do, that people deserve to be pain-free, whether they can afford an appointment or not.
So I gave up my clinic, wrote a book, built some tech, and have tried many experiments to get ‘pain free’ living on the radar.
These days, much of my work is educating companies about the pain problem... that 68% of us are in pain every week. That pain costs us $48B in lost productivity every year. That pain leads to mental health issues like anxiety, depression and drug abuse. It’s been an uphill battle, but we’re getting there.
With so little innovation in the space, I don’t blame companies for putting pain in the ‘too hard basket’. Choices have been limited... pay for underperforming EAP’s, hire traditional services that can’t scale, give at-desk massages. These were the options, hard to implement and hard to measure.
It seemed obvious to me that there should be a company creating pain support that is engaging, inspiring and wherever possible, open source. A company that embraces the experts, keeping its human touch while using technology to scale. So I built it!
Over the coming months, I’lll be exploring this space in much more detail. I’d love for you to join me.
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A light hearted, enjoyable read that shines a light on the cultural, physical and emotional ways in which we approach our health. From medical facts you won’t believe, to methods you can try at home, I’m Sick of Being Sore will change how you move & feel.