The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast
207: Biopsychosocial Model & Yoga with Carolyn Vandyken
Many people come to yoga to seek relief for a specific pain or to regain strength and mobility after recovering from an injury. The biopsychosocial model of care is a great way to look at how we’re using yoga to help our students. By adopting a whole-person approach to health and wellness, the biopsychosocial framework gives us a more holistic approach in regard to pain, function and movement. Carolyn Vandyken, expert in the biopsychosocial model, shares more about what the model is and how it applies to yoga.
Carolyn Vandyken is one of the Co-Founders of Reframe Rehab. She has practiced in orthopaedics and pelvic health for the past 33 years, and has been heavily involved in post-graduate pelvic health education, and research in lumbopelvic pain. She speaks at numerous international conferences and has written extensively on the topics of pelvic health, orthopaedics and pain science for the past twelve years. Carolyn’s mission in her practice is to break down the silos in clinical practice between musculoskeletal pain, pelvic pain, pain neuroscience education, and psychology by providing learning opportunities from the world's leading clinical educators on these topics.
Why do we need to understand the science of pain, and how can we use this understanding to better help our yoga students? Carolyn breaks down some of the elements of the science of pain, and the best steps for yoga teachers to take when a student approaches with a specific pain. Shannon and Carolyn also discuss the language we use related to pain, and how to look for other specialized healthcare professionals who can help support students who are coming to us with pain and injuries.
[16:26] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode Carolyn Vandyken.
[17:52] What is the biopsychosocial framework?
[19:41] We don't often consider the social aspect of things. Carolyn and Shannon discuss how COVID-19 has made more people consider the importance of social factors in wellbeing.
[20:18] What is the work that Carolyn does and how did she get started in this area?
[26:31] Pain is all in the brain, but how can we communicate that without coming across as saying "it's all in your head"? Carolyn explains more about the science of pain.
[34:31] What are some things that yoga teachers can do to help a student who approaches them with pain?
[38:45] Shannon often refers people to PTs or physiotherapists for persistent pain. How does she manage that?
[42:15] Asking questions is a powerful tool to help people look inward and reflect on what can help their pain.
[46:05] Why does Carolyn recommend yoga and taichi for people with persistent pain?
[53:55] How can language and messaging influence the pain experience?
[1:00:02] Carolyn shares some additional perspectives for yoga teachers around the biopsychosocial framework and pain.
[1:05:29] If you have been dealing with persistent pain, Carolyn has some tips for you.
[1:09:24] Find out more about Carolyn's work and how to work with her via her website, where you can also sign up for courses.
[1:14:09] Shannon shares her key takeaways from this interview.
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Quotes from this episode:
"Pain is an output of the brain, so if it's an output of the brain we have to consider all the potential inputs if we're going to help our clients change that experience." - Carolyn
"The social isolation of COVID for a lot of people has been a real challenge." - Carolyn
"Really, our bodies heal themselves." - Carolyn
"Pain is a brain thing. The brain creates pain to protect us." - Carolyn
"Everybody's pain is real. ... Pain is always personal." - Carolyn
"Pain is sensory and emotional." - Carolyn
"We can't just look at tissue health when we consider pain, we have to look much broader at everything that is going on in that person's life." - Carolyn
"1 in 4 people, after they have an acute injury, even though the tissues have healed, go on to have persistent pain." - Carolyn
"The more variability we have in our mapping options, the less likely we are to have pain." - Carolyn