Friday, November 16, 2012

Beware of the "Quick Fix"

This will be a straight off rant...there are no two ways about it.  The all-familiar "Beware of Dog" sign should spring to mind...something that has been caricaturized in cartoons and comedies many times over.  The literal understanding has always been that beyond the sign lies something that will indeed do you harm.  However, the true meaning is "enter at your own risk".

Tying this into the rehabilitative context should be quite easy to manage...and as the title suggests:  beware of anything that claims to be a quick fix.  Whether the claim is deliberate or lies within a deeper rhetoric, you (care-seeker or care-provider) should stop to carefully process what you are about to engage in.  This statement is quite intuitive and logical...but for some reason when it comes to physical therapy, medicine, or rehabilitation...this logic goes completely out the window.  Building wealth takes time...building wisdom takes time...relationships need time to build...but the rehab world is filled with "quick fix merchants" and "quick fix shoppers" who are all crammed into some figurative Mall with the merchants all putting signs in their windows and the shoppers engage in frantic window shopping.

Steering this rant more towards a specific point, I will refer to a recent quote I found which is quite insightful: Adopt the pace of Nature. Her secret is patience.  Although this quote could arguably be considered just "fluff", it couldnt be more accurate.

 In the adjacent image, there is a tree seemingly "growing through the street".  The more important thing to take away is that slow, gradual, and progressive increments show the most potential and therefore yield the best results.  Through patient, gradual, and deliberate stimulus, the roots have adapted to the environment and have adapted to the architecture of the sidewalk.  Fundamental question..."can this be achieved in a quick fix?"...most defintely not.

The examples of how biological organisms respond and exist are abundant and explicit.  The fundamental understanding that remains to be effectively integrated is that the human organism is not immune to this reality...and any attempts to circumvent or bypass are at best ineffective, if not useless. 

In defense of all of the quick fix merchants and shoppers...not all "beware" signs signal inevitable dangers.  There are indeed some occasions where the Beware of Dog sign is visible, but the dog is nowhere to be seen...allowing you to peacefully slip by.  Therefore, this is not an attempt to dismiss the quick-fix...nor is it an attempt to classify the quick fix merchant.  Rather to highlight the reality that we exist within certain physical realities...and any attempts to deviate are consistently unproductive and "quick to lose".  The idea of "simple" fits well into todays fast-paced world and is likely the most attractive, but the human organism is exponentially more complex...and therefore deserves more intelligent consideration. 


  1. So true, Gavin! In our world of disabilityland, I see many people who are really good parents of disabled kids lured by the promise of hope and snake oil...instant cure. Stem cells? HBOT? ABM? PT? Orthopedic surgery, etc. etc. Some may help, more are placebos ...never seen an instant cure. The PROMISE of cure preys upon those who are yearning for hope. Getting better is hard work and a long road!

  2. Neat article, really love that picture of those roots running along the cracks in the bricks. Phil, I'm a little upset to see you put Stem Cells into the category of "quick fix cures" that we need to be wary of. The science of stem cell research has tremendous benefit in so many facets of health and understanding of human biology. Do some research, it'll excite you for the possibilities of tomorrow.

    In terms of physical rehabilitation, it is a totally different game. Hard work, long painful therapy sessions are the only way your body is able to get over an injury or surgery. Thanks again for the post!

    -Salem, OR

    1. Greetings Louis! Your feedback is most welcome and appreciated. Thee is a definite reality that some terms are more "nuclear" than others...or to put it differently, some statements are more visceral than others. The main message of the post is not that any specific specific strategy is "bad"...rather, that there are vastly different mindsets that exist. The idea of HBOT, Stem Cell, etc isn't "bad" as such, rather it manifests vastly different results in every individual. As with all interventions, results vary...but there are some that are presentated as potential "one-off" cures when thisdoesnt exists. On a deeper level, these interventions contribute to a developing mindset that there is a singular therapy / intervention that will provide you with the desired outcome...which again does not exist. You can use a very simple analogy of palnning your retirement with either playing the lottery or contributing to your retirement funds incrementally over time. Sure, its ok to play the lottery and indeed you may get lucky...but the progressive and incremental "deposit of health assets" is always successful. If some people are fortunate enough to do both, then more power to them. In most cases, only one avenue can be entertained therefore it makes alot of sense to focus on the most reliable.

      Regarding physical rehab, I will have to disagree that LONG PAINFUL sessions are the only avenue. This is a manifestation of the "no pain, no gain" perspective which completely disregards the vast majority of the sick and injured population (elderly, development delay, motor dysfunction, MS, Fibromyalgia, etc.). Long and painful in these cases is 100% detrimental and counter-productive. There is definitely alot of common ground between our respective positions...more similar than dis-similar...but the most important thing to take away from it is that "adopting the pace of nature...patience" is the most reliable roadmap. Your love for the image equals is a perfect representation how gradual and incremental application of stimulus can result in things that intuitively are percieved as impossible.

      Really glad you decided to input your comment, Louis. Thanks for reading and keep those comments coming!! Dialogue and debate are helps everyone to grow and develop! Cheers