#PTonICE Daily Show – Tuesday, August 29th, 2023 – The stimulus of suffering in hip & knee OA

In today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, Extremity Division Leader Lindsey Hughey discusses how encouragement and support are crucial factors in helping patients overcome challenges and develop resilience. This episode emphasizes the significance of being there for patients and showing them that a healthier and stronger version of themselves is achievable, despite the short-term suffering they may experience. Lindsey acknowledges that this aspect of patient care cannot be measured on standardized scales or assessments, but it plays a vital role in the patient’s journey towards better health.

Additionally, the episode highlights the importance of providing encouragement to patients when they face setbacks or failures. It is essential to support them and let them know that it is okay to struggle. By reframing these setbacks as part of the process and emphasizing that it is better than not taking any action at all, healthcare providers can help patients maintain their motivation and continue working towards their goals.

Furthermore, the episode emphasizes that patients should not be defined by their diagnosis or label. It is crucial to help patients understand that they have the power to make choices that can improve their well-being. Healthcare providers should assist patients in reframing their experiences and show them a different way to approach suffering. This involves forging connections, offering hope, and helping patients gain a new perspective on their situation.

In addition to encouragement and support, the episode also mentions the importance of accountability. Patients may need someone to hold them accountable for their actions and help them stay on track with their goals. This can be achieved through forming new connections, such as involving family members or enlisting the support of a healthcare provider. By creating a sense of accountability, patients can stay motivated and make positive changes in their lives.

Overall, the episode emphasizes that encouragement, support, and accountability are essential components of helping patients overcome challenges and build resilience. By providing these elements of care, healthcare providers can help patients navigate their journey towards better health and well-being. Lindsey emphasizes that simply modulating pain symptoms is not enough. They want to open up opportunities for patients to maximize their fitness, both physically and psychologically.

Take a listen or check out the episode transcription below.

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Good morning, PT on ICE Daily Show. How’s it going? I am Dr. Lindsay Hughey, one of our lead faculty for extremity management, along with Dr. Mark Gallant and Cody Gingrich. It’s nice to see you all this morning. I am coming to you from Manitou Springs, Colorado. There are some mountains peeking in the background. This Clinical Tuesday, I am going to be chatting with you all about the stimulus of suffering and how in our folks in particular with knee and HIPAA can transform their current suffering to a strength. But I’ll tell you it’s not by giving up suffering, it’s by transforming it. So we will take on this challenging subject today and consider how the suffering stimulus produces growth and satisfaction. But before we do, I would love to tell you about some upcoming courses that Mark and Cody and I have in the extremity division because there’s only a handful of courses to catch us in 2023. So coming up is we are in Amarillo, Texas, September 9th and 10th. Mark will be there, so there are still spots left. Join him. And then September 16th, 17th, we’ll also be in Cincinnati, Ohio. Moving into the fall, in October, October 7th and 8th, Cody will be in Rochester, Minnesota. So that’ll be his first lead course. Join him. He is going to crush that. He has been on the extremity management team and ice team for so long. He brings such a wealth of knowledge. So that is going to be a blast of a course if you are nearby. And then Ridgefield, Connecticut, I added that course about three to four months ago. I’ll be there with Melissa Reed. It’s a really rad CrossFit gym, CrossFit 203. Lots of spots there, so join us. And then just a couple more opportunities in November and December. So check us out on ptlonice.com. But to the topic at hand. So I’ve come on here the last few months really chatting a lot about Hip OA and Knee OA and kind of that underlying systemic struggle that they have. And so in particular, we’re going to talk about the mental physical struggle that they go through. So those folks with Hip OA and Knee OA, they often start to really identify with that bone on bone label, right? Osteoarthritis becomes who they are. It’s how they plan their day. They plan their outings, their weekends, their shopping trips. It’s all planned around how long a distance to walk, their energy level, the amount of steps that might be on board, wherever they’re headed, how much pain they might be in, how much medicine they might have to take to get through that, or how much they’ll pay for it later. So they are considering all of these factors. And it all comes back to like that label that diagnosis of, Oh, I have osteoarthritis. And this starts to really dictate their whole life. And it starts to creating quite a bit of disability limiting their interaction socially. It monopolizes their mental and emotional capacity a bit. And they’re struggling. They are suffering. And this is on top of their pain, right in their knee or hip joints and in other areas in their body, because they’re walking with the intelligent gait patterns. It’s not just the physical impairments, right? Range of motion and strength. They are suffering physically and psychosocially. And we have to recognize this if we want to make an impact. And what’s strange is that this suffering becomes a sort of comfort for them, because it’s familiar, right? This is now their identity.


We often associate comfort in our society with happiness and well-being. But there’s really this intriguing paradox that you start to become comfortable in your current suffering because it is familiar. And this happens to our folks with hip and knee OA in particular, their suffering becomes their comfort. It’s what they rely on to dictate their life. Their whole identity is around the suffering. So the reason they don’t go to the grocery store anymore, that they have their cousin do their shopping for them, the reason they ride the motorized car and don’t walk through the store, the reason they don’t take that flight to see their daughter because they can’t help bear the thought of walking to that plane and the pain that will cause, or maybe the embarrassment of being pushed in a wheelchair, they’re missing their bingo nights, birthday parties of family members, their church Bible studies. They’re not able to mow the lawn anymore. They need their nephew or their grandson to do it. They’re not doing their exercises because they hurt. They don’t want to do them. They’d rather watch their shows. They’re not going outside and enjoying the weather. This is suffering and it becomes this holding pattern of inactivity and excuse, which leads to what? It leads to more suffering. The familiarity of that routine to stay home, to not exercise, to eat out, maybe because it’s convenient, because they no longer can stand to make a whole meal. This becomes comfortable. Folks are suffering though in another way with these choices, right? They’re missing out on socializing. Their joints become more immobile the less they move. They become more painful with less activity and then plus that sequelae of untangible systemic inflammatory changes that are happening when you stop moving, right? Physically and then we can’t even put a, you know, a tangible thing on the mental emotional changes that are happening internally and possibly affecting their ecosystems. They will not only stay in these patterns, think about your patients with HIP and NEOA or really anyone really suffering in any diagnosis. Folks tend to find solace in it. We are creatures of habit humans, right? And we stay in these holding patterns of suffering. Our job, we need to create a novel suffering stimulus for these folks. We have to help them see there’s this opportunity challenge before them and guess what? They’re going to continue to suffer, right? But in a different more productive way, right? And what I mean by that, it’s doing your exercises regularly, getting 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity regularly, these things, planning a meal so you don’t eat out or having someone come over, help you prepare that meal, things that are outside of comfort zone. Our job is we have to show them the dividends of adapting and learning and evolving lifestyle behaviors. They can change their activity level little by little. They can change their diet and nutrition, their fueling. They can change their hydration. This will all be hard. It will cause some suffering shifts, right? Because of the planning and the change associated with changing those behaviors, like waking up early to do exercises, right? If there’s someone that works full time and they just say, I don’t have any time to do my exercises for my hip and knee. It might be helping them develop a routine to take their vitamins or hydrate. It might just be asking for help, right? To have an exercise buddy in the morning to walk with. But these all take effort and it takes getting out of that comfortable routine of sitting, right? And doing less. It will definitely take failing, right? Patients, it’s hard when you make lifestyle changes. Think about yourself, right? It’s hard to make diet and lifestyle changes and nutrition, like eating more protein, drinking half your body weight in ounces. But if you’re there, encouraging them, they’ll continue to go back at it despite these failures. All of this causes some amount of suffering, right? This change out of normal routine to shift to more healthy lifestyle behaviors. It’s one that involves sacrifice, but they have to be novel. It has to be something different, not their comfortable suffering.


We have to try to challenge and force adaption and learning and evolution surrounding their ecosystem, not just in their home program. And this ultimately leads to the patient’s autonomy, right? Showing them that a healthier, stronger version of themselves is more resilient despite some short-term suffering. If you can be there to encourage them, right? When they do fail, this helps produce fortitude and resilience. And this can’t be measured on an MPRS or KOS. I can’t tell you an MCID of encouraging someone and the dividends associated with this. But if we can be there, right, to help them get back up on the saddle, maybe they take off doing their, they’re doing great for a week with their physical activity and then they hit three days in a row where they don’t, and they just don’t feel like it. We have to be there to encourage them. When you fail, right, patients, this causes mental suffering. So as they shift behaviors, lifestyle behaviors, and maybe fail at them, we have to let them know that that’s okay and that that’s normal and that you’re going to be with them. But this is better than sitting on the couch, not going out with your friends, planning your life around your osteoarthritis diagnosis. Our patients are not their diagnosis. They are not their label and they have to believe that. We have to help reframe that and I’ve talked about that in previous episodes you can check out. But the patients, they are, the some are their choices and we have to let them know that. We have to make them make better suffering choices. It is not okay if they miss doing their exercises, right, those three days. I’m not going to tell Nancy or Marilyn, it’s okay. I’m going to say we need to get back at it, Marilyn. We need to get back up on that saddle. They need someone to tell them it’s not okay. Along the way to the suffering and accountability, there’s healthy byproducts, right, like forming new connection as your PT, right, as their healthcare provider. Maybe it’s a family member that they’re eliciting to help them be accountable to eat a little bit healthier diet or to drink that extra glass of water. We all need help and accountability to get through hard things and so help them realize that this is also an opportunity for connection to change their outlook and how they even connect with others around them.


The suffering stimulus creates change. Your values of the patient priority start to shift. I keep saying suffering stimulus and that’s because in our course we talk a lot about dosage stimulus. In particular, we talk about it in the physical realm, right, like when we talk about strength, we say this is for functional confidence and competence or performance dominance. We work at this at five reps, five sets, greater than 80% one rep max intensity. We’re working some sets, greater than 80% one rep max intensity. We’re working so hard we need a three-minute rest break. We are doing this three to four days a week. In the rehab dose, it’s eight to 20 reps, three to four sets, 30 to 80% intensity. This is for dysfunctional tissue issue, local issues, right, we might rest 60 to 90 seconds and then powers three reps, 10 sets, right, requiring a three-minute rest break because we’re taxing the CNS to use strength quickly, right, power is force times velocity, right, these all have standard definitions and reps and set schemes and frequency. The suffering stimulus is a little bit different, right, this is an intangible dose but this is a dose that pushes a human outside of their mental and emotional comfort zone. It shifts their values and their priorities in their time choices, their nutrition choices, their exercise choices, lifestyle choices, even your friend choices. Some friends have to go, right, if they’re the ones you’re drinking with on the regular and that tell you to eat that extra piece of cake and those cheese fries, right, we might need to change our circle and that might even involve some family ties, right, our activity choices will change and there is a certain amount of suffering associated with that. The suffering stimulus frequency, it’s a daily commitment, it’s reps and sets, they are boundless but this yields in unmeasurable dividends of hope, resilience, confidence, and maybe a dash of fun if we do our job well to elicit and show them the power of doing exercise and how that changes life and how lifestyle behaviors enhances that even more. The suffering stimulus, it’s a life-altering dose that we don’t talk about enough. It’s our job to show our patient that they can do this and support them in this journey and we do have to be honest that some folks are not going to really lean in to suffering, right, they find finding comfort in suffering. It really is a deeply personal journey, right. I want you to know this isn’t about glorifying pain. I hate the saying no pain no gain, we don’t say that but this is about recognizing that resilience and growth emerge from life’s difficulties, from one’s sufferings. We have to reframe that experience for the patient, show them a different way to suffer. It is a delicate balance. We have the privilege of serving humans on the regular, right, in their most vulnerable moments when they’re in pain and they’re hurting and they are suffering but let’s forge connection, hope, and perspective change. Let’s help them redirect to control the controllables. Let’s help them find their why, paint that picture of what is most important to them, right, playing with grandkids, picking up their kids, running, it’s always usually family, right, being able to keep running with their kiddos. Maybe it’s running a marathon, maybe it’s doing chores without restriction or mowing the lawn again, going to bingo. Let’s give them the resources that hold them accountable to achieving these goals like gym access, community classes, connecting them with others with the same struggles. We know this if you’ve been to an ICE course and you’ve been part of our tribe for a while but we don’t just want to change your hip or knee, shoulder pain, back pain, pelvic pain, right, we want to change your life. We want to modulate your pain symptoms to open the opportunity to maximize fitness but not just physically and not just through fitness-forward lifestyle behavior. We want to build and challenge your psychological fitness. We have to help our humans break their routine suffering for a novel suffering stimulus that challenges them not only physically but mentally to lean into hard-think mindset, lifestyle shifting behavior that yields a more healthy human.


I want you to not only think about humoring suffering with hip and knee OA patients but even consider yourself, is there some comfortable suffering that you’re currently taking part in that you maybe need to shift in to more productive suffering? Maybe it’s tracking your food, maybe it’s getting in zone two work more, maybe it’s actually taking a rest day if you’re a work outaholic, right, and allowing yourself dessert once a week. Consider how you can shift your patient to a suffering stimulus that changes their life and think about in your own life as well. Thank you for joining me this clinical Tuesday and if you feel so inclined share with me some ways that you have helped invoke the suffering stimulus personally or in your patients. The suffering stimulus is always a catalyst for change if you let it be. Happy Tuesday folks.

16:20 OUTRO

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