Archives for September 2017

Why am I still in pain?!

Why am I still in Pain???

Are you still in pain even after taking medications and have gone the surgery route? Why does this happen to so many people?
Even though our understanding of pain and how the brain processes pain has improved drastically, certain treatments are still based on old, and outdated information or models. For example, the Cartesian pain model, and the belief that our brain is hardwired.

Usually therapists have an understanding of “pain fibers”. A person sprains his or her ankle, and the “pain fibers” send “pain messages” to the brain, then pain is perceived by the brain and the person will do something to help the ankle. But how does this explain the reason for pain when there is no injury? How does this explain phantom limb pain? Or explain how Kerri Strug in the 1996 Olympics was able to pull off a faultless vault performance? Her ankle injury was so severe her coach had to carry her to the platform. Truth is, it doesn’t explain, hence why the medical profession needs to update their information about pain.


The Old School Train of Thought: The Cartesian Model

The Cartesian Model could be the reason for the misunderstanding about pain and where it starts. This model comes from Renè Descartes. (1596-1650) Even though this model is extremely outdated, its theory of pain is the backbone of the way doctors approach pain issues today. This model basically says if you were to put your foot either in or near fire, that a message is sent to the brain via pathway or wire. When the message hit the brain it would result in a ringing of a bell producing pain. Not only is this idea extremely simple it’s incorrect. Therefore, if the teaching is overly simple and incorrect, the treatment will be as well.

(Little known fact: Descartes believed that nerves were hollow tubes and that spirits flowed up and down them).

When looking at the Cartesian model you’ll see that to treat a person in pain, several options show up.

1. Remove foot from the fire.

First, the person can take his foot out of the fire, but what about the persistent pain that exists afterward? This also doesn’t account for the instance of pain triggered by emotion. For example, fear of being burned while standing by the fire can cause pain or evoke the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is our flight/fight/freeze mechanism.

2. Dousing the fire.

Second, you can douse the the fire with a bucket of water. Looking at the modern approach, “dousing the fire” would be pain medicine or injections. However, Medicare in the U.S. has had a 629% increase in expenditures for lower back pain over the last five years (Deyo, Mirza et al.,2009), yet pain rates are increasing, not decreasing. So logically, you can say “dousing the fire” doesn’t work.

3. Cutting the wire.

Third, and more severe approach to the Cartesian model of getting rid of pain would be to cut the wire. This would severe the message even getting to the brain, so if the brain can’t receive the message, pain will not exist. This modern approach would be surgery. If the Cartesian model was correct than surgery would be 100% successful. However, “20% of lumber discectomy patients have the same if not worse pain after surgery. (Ostelo, Costa et al., 2004); Lumbar fusions, in general, only have a 50% success rate in decreasing pain (Deyo, Nachemson et al.,2004; Deyo Gray et al., 2005).

More than 360 years after Renè Descartes death, this model continues to have influence on the way doctors and therapists think of pain.

Incorrect assumptions.

As a result of the outdated information, when you go to a therapist or doctor you might be introduced to some inaccurate assumptions. For example:

There is a direct link between the amount of tissue damage and the level of pain that you feel.

  • All pain is caused by an injury and if there is a increase of pain it must mean more tissue damage.
  • If you are dealing with chronic pain, under the Cartesian model, this means that the tissue isn’t healing and the damage is still going on.
  • Pain is an input driven system.
  • The nervous system is simply built for conduction (a wire).
  • However pain is just way more complex.

Pain fundamentals.

As mentioned above, its been a belief that our brain plays a role when we experience pain. The idea was that there was a specific area in the brain, like a “pain center.” However, science today has proven that there is not a specific spot in the brain that deals with pain. In fact, their is many areas of the brain that are involved when we are in pain. So when looking for answers on how to treat your pain, understand that there are more than a few ways to fix it.

Pain is actually an action signal. The brain makes a decision based on its perception of threat. For example: someone hurts their ankle, and is crossing the street. They see a bus approaching them very fast. The person now runs across the street with no pain in their ankle. As soon as the person calms down their ankle pain comes back. Why did the pain go away? The brain perceived that the bus was a greater threat to your survival, so no pain was produced to protect the ankle, allowing the person to get out of harms way.

Pain is part of the survival system. This means that if your brain views something as a threat, it will create pain.

Pain is also individual. This means that two people can be hurt in the same way, and have two different pain experiences.

Pain is a multi-system output event. This means again, since survival is of upmost importance to the brain, pain will influence body-wide changes in order to help us handle the threat that has presented itself.

What all these fundamentals of pain boil down to is the most current view of pain. Science is now calling it the neuromatrix. The neuromatrix highlights the fact that its not one thing that causes pain, you need to take a persons background, emotional state, physical state, etc into consideration.


If you are someone who is still in pain after medication and surgery, I encourage you to look at your life, and see where there may be something your brain is viewing as threatening. This can come in ways of eating inflammatory foods or not enough food, poor sleep, lack of movement, and a stressful job.

Movie Review: “What The Health!?”

Heavy Thoughts Fitness Talk Show

Movie Review:  “What The Health!?”

In this episode of Heavy Thoughts, Peter and Jenn review the newly popular Netflix Documentary, “What the Health.  

Often we are asked by others what our thoughts are on certain movies and documentaries, and so we decided to try something new on the fitness talk show, Heavy Thoughts.  

The Quick Run Down…

We give this movie a 4 out of 10.  Honestly, it ended up being a big vegan commercial.  Many of this same arguments you may have heard for veganism in the past are presented in the movie along with more and more evidence of abuse within the foods industry.  Let’s break it down a little further.

First off, a lot of the information in this movie is worth hearing in relation to the current state of our food industry.  The way many companies within the food industry operate is just truly appalling.  Livestock is mistreated far beyond what most people realize.   Chemicals are added to our foods without our knowledge and the companies themselves turn a blind eye to the fact they don’t even really know the long term effects of their consumption.  And so, the story of how animals are abused and people are fed poisons in the name of saving the bottom line still stands.  This documentary thoroughly depicts the evils of the food industry and we think everyone needs to see it.  

On the other hand, the documentary uses every resource it has to fight for the vegan cause.

The Vegan Diet: Science or Religion?

Veganism is more like a religion than a scientifically based theory.  There isn’t a lot of sound science to prove the idea that people should be completely avoiding animal products, but people deeply believe it to be true anyway.  It’s a belief system with a lot of great stories, and yet not a whole lot of concrete evidence.    For example, one of the arguments made by a doctor in the film is that people shouldn’t be consuming cow’s milk because the milk is designed to take a baby calf and turn it into a 1200 lb. cow.  He goes on to discuss the hormone content being unnatural for humans, but never gets specific.  

I call these types of arguments, “connect the dots science.”   There isn’t any scientific proof that people shouldn’t drink milk, but by stating multiple facts about cow’s milk, it’s function in raising calves, historical timelines involving when people began to maintain livestock, what their teeth look like, and the shapes of their spots, people connect the factual dots, so to speak, to tell a story that corresponds with their beliefs.  

The one thing I can say in defense of all vegans is they truly care about animal rights.  Whenever I encounter a new member with health issues who is also vegan, I always start the conversation with one question. 

“Do you avoid animal products because you can’t stomach eating living things or do you believe it to be the healthiest way to eat?”

If the answer I get relates the little rabbit you once befriended as a child appearing as the main course for your 7th birthday dinner, I can see how that might be traumatizing.  But, if the answer has to do with veganism or vegetarianism being healthy, then we can have a conversation.  

Just a quick disclaimer… I don’t hate vegans or vegetarians.  I don’t choose to dislike people because of their beliefs.  So if you refuse to eat meat and animal products don’t take this as an attack on your person. The only argument I care about is whether or not eating in a such a way is optimally healthy or not.  If people are suffering from metabolic disorders and their answer to the problem is to go vegan, I try to provide information as to why I’d be concerned.  Regardless of what I say, just know the decision is always yours to do what you want with your health.  

Here are some great references to check out:



 Book:  “How to Heal Your Metabolism” by Kate Deering

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!   


How to get out of PAIN!

If you’re in pain and you’ve tried everything to fix it, you need to watch this video to get a better understanding of what pain REALLY is!   

We help people get rid of nagging pain every day.  It’s one of our specialties.  No, we’re not physical therapists or doctors.  In fact, pain rehabilitation and performance training are actually the same exact thing!  That probably sounds odd to you, but it’s the truth.  The same exact style of training that gets a person out of years of pain is also what takes an elite athlete to their peak performance.  

The First step to getting out of pain:  UNDERSTAND WHAT PAIN IS.

It all comes down to understanding the nervous system and how it uses pain to protect you.  Here’s the best part…  It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in pain, how bad the pain has gotten, or how many times you’ve tried and failed to relieve it.  You can still be rid of pain.  You just have to fully grasp its function in the body.

Types of pain we help people remedy:

  • Back
  • Sciatica
  • Neck & Shoulder 
  • Joint
  • Arthritis
  • Migraines and Head Aches
  • Old Injuries and Surgeries

The Next Step:  Let us help.

Watch Peter’s video above to take the first step in getting out of pain.  If you need more help reach out by calling us at 702-220-8222 to schedule a FREE, no-obligation neuro-evaluation.

Heavy Thoughts: The Ray Peat Diet

In this episode of Heavy Thoughts, Jenn and Peter discuss who Dr. Ray Peat is and his research on nutrition and metabolism.  

Who is Dr. Ray Peat?

Dr. Ray Peat is a biologist who has spent his life studying nutrition and its effect on human physiology.  He’s becoming more commonly a topic of discussion due to his alternative views on nutrition, stress, light, and metabolism. 

We here at FitLife Fusion have been following Ray’s guidance for years. With his work, we’ve helped hundreds of people make breakthroughs unlike any we’ve been able to accomplish prior to finding Ray’s work.  

The one thing that sets Ray Peat apart from the rest is his view on sugar.  Ray argues that sugar in the form of fruits, fruit juices and even table sugar, is necessary for cellular function.   Whereas complex carbohydrates aren’t as useful due to their effects on blood sugar and stress hormones.  

Ray also has a lot to say about fats.  Basically, unsaturated fats are problematic and saturated fats are healthy and have an important role in the body.  

He ties in some pretty hefty conversation around politics, institutions, food industry giants, cancer, autoimmune disease, and much more into the articles on his website, to which you can find a link at the end of this blog post.

What is the Ray Peat Diet?

Jenn and Peter discuss some of the basics of Dr. Peat’s work in terms of how we and others apply it when constructing a person’s diet.  There isn’t actually a “Ray Peat Diet” per say, but there are more and more people developing their diet plans around his work.  Diving into this topic isn’t easy to simplify because the information is so vast and there are so many pieces to it, but we try to simplify things and give you the general idea. 

You can find dozens of articles and even keep up with Ray’s current work by signing up for his newsletter by visiting

What to Eat Before & After a Workout

Jennifer Davis of FitLife Fusion on foods should eat before and after exercise.  Pre-workout and post-workout meals are super important!

Lack Energy and Stamina for workouts???

The way that you eat greatly impacts your energy and stamina levels. If you’re not getting in the right kind of foods in you before and after training then you most likely may find yourself struggling in the energy department, or you’re probably the type who needs their pre-workout powder to kick in before you even think about exercise.

Don’t let yourself be dependent upon fancy pre-workout mixes. Fuel yourself properly and you’ll begin to find you have extra energy to burn off!  Listen to what Jenn has to say in the video above and she’ll walk you through it.