Pain & Movement Specialist | #LivePainFree

Why do people with pain struggle to improve long-term?

(hint: it's all to do with clarity about what needs to happen for you)

long term progress

Put simply, this is a question that almost all of my clients admit they have asked themselves about their symptoms at some point or another. Many of them have asked me this question during the course of our work together. 

They bounce around trying different types of treatments, get their hopes up and ultimately fail to make the progress they want and then get even more frustrated and worried about their future 

They often come out with questions and statements like these: 

  • “Why cannot I not seem to get rid of this pain, I am doing everything I am being asked to do”
  • “ I cannot see how I am going to be able to get back to normal again, I feel like my body is letting me down and my life isn’t going to be the same ever again”
  • “Do you see any hope for me in overcoming this?”
  • “Can people in this much pain ever make progress?”
  • “It isn’t fair, I know other people who had back pain and they made a full recovery, why am I unable to do the same?”


Statements like this show the utter frustration and lack of hope that is all too common for a person with ongoing pain. 

It really doesn’t have to be like this. 

If you have found yourself thinking like this, what you are really saying deep down is: 

“I don’t understand what is happening to me and I don’t know how to make progress”.


The lack of clarity about how to create the change you are looking for is what is important here. If you don’t know what to do, how are you supposed to be able to move towards your goal?

Let me ask you a question:

If you were clear on the big influencing factors for your set of painful symptoms, would that make it more likely that you could take action to resolve them or not?

For almost everybody who is reading this blog post, the answer will be YES.

Once clarity is present, all that you need is some guidance about the best next steps to begin making progress. 

Each person’s best next step will be a little different. It could be that you need to improve your movement, get stronger through a particular set of tissues in your body or get access to meaningful education that will help you decrease the fear and worry associated with your current symptoms. 

Whatever it is, without the necessary clarity, you may take little or no meaningful action to help yourself, or you may be stuck in a cycle of working on things that do not matter for long term progress.

Those pieces of what appears to be a puzzle to you at the moment, become parts of the process when clarity is found. 

Once they become parts of the process, you can then work on making progress over time.

None of that is possible without clarity in the first place.

Here are a few possible questions that may help you to begin creating clarity about the influences on your symptoms: 

Questions to help you get Clear

It’s likely that some of those questions will help you to become aware of topics that you might not know anything about and that may be big influences on your symptoms.

The quickest way to gain clarity about your situation is to work with someone that you trust. Ideally someone that will ask you the questions that help you to generate the clarity that you are lacking. 

The questions above are just the tip of the iceberg. By answering them honestly, you will know a lot more of what you “don’t know” which is the first step in gaining awareness of what is important for you. 

Writing this blog reminds me of the stages of competence. The process to improve your symptoms mirrors this:

  1. Unaware of influences and process to improve
  2. Now aware that you are unaware and begin searching for help
  3. Identifying & Working on the process with guidance from someone you trust
  4. Progressing forwards and overcoming the problems

The thing that isn’t demonstrated here is the changes to your behaviour, confidence & mindset that occur naturally as you move through these stages. It is almost impossible to imagine or see yourself as being confident in your body again from the space that you may be currently operating from.

And yet, it is all possible to achieve with time, support and guidance. 

Every bit of it begins with clarity about how to take the next steps because without that you stay in a state of confusion, worry and fear that you are never going to make long term progress.

If you would like to get to work on gaining the clarity that you require, my online community is currently open for new members. You can get started by clicking HERE.


David Mc Gettigan

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