Customer Feedback: The Problems with Referred Pain

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Since July this year, I have been collecting feedback via follow-up emails from all my customers. It’s completely anonymous and intended to provide a safe platform for customers to share their views on how their treatment session went.

Most just tick the boxes and hit send, but occasionally some people take the time to leave a constructive comment. It’s my general attempt to at least answer or implement a suggestion whenever possible or appropriate.

Customer Comment:

“I realise that pain is not necessarily the same place as the origin or cause of a symptom, however, I think pinpointing the exact location of pain beforehand may help improve overall results.”

My Response:

Many issues that people have are precisely in the location where the pain is coming from, and it really makes diagnosis and treatment much more straightforward. But, as you can imagine, there also many people who aren’t quite this lucky. Some conditions have been going on so long, or have affected so many other muscles that the interactions are far more complex. This is because the human body is fantastic at adapting to adversity. If one muscle needs a helping hand, then there’s another one more than willing to help.

The problem is that these mechanisms become your new default mode of operation when performing any movement using the affected area. There are often many of these interactions happening simultaneously and thus make diagnosis and treatment far more challenging. Also, it’s a perfect reason why exercise should be limited during an injury.

As a therapist, it can be all too easy to get lost in the minutia and miss the big picture. And all too easy to waste valuable treatment time chasing a problem area that has long since recovered. And one that has left a bunch of tension and altered movement patterns behind it.

In these scenarios, I try to take a broader view. I look for what appears to be the worst problems and treat those first. Try and gain some control while providing some much-needed relief for the customer. I liken it to moulding some clay. I have a good idea of what I want it to look like when it’s finished, and all the shaping I’m doing is working towards that. When the final shape is starting to take place, I begin to work on the finer details.

For the most part, the method seems to work for me in most cases. Other therapists use similar techniques, while many others don’t even bother to think that far ahead.

What will I do about it?

  1. I love a good mull, and this is one issue I will continue to mull about with some frequency.
  2. With all of the business-related stuff I’ve been up to lately, I feel I’ve neglected my training somewhat. It’s something I’m looking into.
  3. Separate Sports Massage and Deep Tissue Massage into distinct treatment options at the online booking window. Customers can then choose if they want a generalised deep tissue treatment or a more focussed sports/injury treatment.
  4. Improve the descriptions for each type of treatment as I feel it may help people better choose what sort of treatment they want.
  5. Carry on trying to do the best I can with each person that chooses to come and see me.

And, finally…

If you’ve taken time to complete a feedback form following treatment, then sincerely I thank you for it. Your feedback is invaluable in helping improve the services I offer.

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