Episode 98 - Simon Simonsen, part 1: Empowering the Victimized

Simon graduated as a Physiotherapist in 1997 and soon after became interested in postgraduate courses.  He’s studied many manual therapy approaches including Maitland, Mulligan, Watson headache approach, and the Laslett/Petersen classification model. He has also completed coursework in acupuncture, sports physiotherapy and NOI courses.  His main interest is in Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy where he started his journey in 1999. He complete his Diploma in MDT in 2004 where he did the practical portion in Austin, Texas and sat the final exam in France in June 2004. He is now a member of the Danish faculty of the McKenzie Institute and teaches courses in Denmark and Norway.

Show Notes


Personal Background

Simon is from Vejle, Denmark which is on the eastern side of the peninsula.  He works in a multidisciplinary center for chronic pain patients.  In addition, he’s recently opened his own private practice.

Professional Background

Originally Simon wanted to become a chiropractor but he questioned his ability to achieve that so he resorted to physiotherapy. He didn’t really enjoy his work at first.  Manual therapy was most popular at that time and in that region so he began taking manual courses.  Alongside that, Simon had personal experience with neck pain since age 9.  He recounts applying what he’d learned in a part B course and experienced significant relief and was sold on further studying MDT.  He pursued, further, the certification and then the diploma.  


“Every patient contains a truth. The clinician must adopt a conscious humility not toward the patient but toward the truth concealed within the patient.”  ~ James Cyriax

Simon finds this especially relevant for the chronic pain patient.


Simon further describes the chronic pain patient and working with this patient population.  He finds he makes the patient contribute or at least encourages them to contribute to the solution and he just offers options rather than trying to “fix” them.  


Struggles and What Helped

Simon revisits a patient he saw with chronic neck pain and at that time he was more active with use of modalities.  He shares a misunderstanding of what might have helped or didn’t help.  And he also shares some of what he has found helpful with chronic pain state patients.


A Good Decision He's Made

He believes his decision to complete the diploma program was a great decision.  He knew it would be difficult but it would be worth it.  He clarifies how it’s helped him and, of course, he sees that it regularly helps him with the chronic patient.


Competing Approaches

Manual approaches, acupuncture and Mulligan concepts all compete with MDT in scandinavia.  The Danish branch of MDT is a mature branch but MDT is not very well known in Norway.  He sees there is some movement toward more patient-centered pain response assessment approaches as compared to early in his career.