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Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode #55: Perry Nickelston

Today’s guest is Perry Nickelston.  Perry is a chiropractic physician with primary focus on performance enhancement, corrective exercise, and metabolic fitness nutrition.  He is certified and trained as a Functional Movement Specialist (FMS) and Selective Functional Movement Assessment Specialist (SFMA).  Perry is a master fitness trainer with over 25 years of experience in the industry, and runs the “Stop Chasing Pain” podcast.

I’ve personally been on a journey for some time in the realms of corrective exercise and “activation/reset” based therapeutic means for helping the body achieve its original, or optimal, patterning.  At a Neurokinetic Therapy seminar (I completed level 1 and 2), which was a really great course, a name that frequently came up at the seminar was Perry Nickelston.  Ever since, I’ve been looking into Dr. Perry’s work, how I can better integrate concepts of corrective exercise into my own work, and also how these concepts tie into sport performance.

This show has great ideas for any strength coach engaging in the host of modern corrective and activation based performance paradigms.  It also has important implications that originate in therapy, but stretch out into every aspect of full blown athletic performance programming.  On the show today, we’ll discuss ideas of “the core”, pain science, the minimal dose in treatment and corrective exercise, making corrective exercise more “sticky”, and more.

Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.

Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode #55: Perry Nickelston


Key Points:

  • Perry’s background
  • What is the core really when it comes to athletic function and movement
  • What the science is saying about what pain actually is
  • Why Perry doesn’t inflict pain in his treatment methods
  • Factors that make corrective exercise stick and change technique over time
  • The minimum effective dose in rehab and corrective exercise
  • Function, dis-function and the nocebo effect
  • The brain, safety and performance


“Pain is the last thing you feel in any injury mechanism that’s not traumatic”

“Human beings naturally like to overcomplicate everything”

“Pain is not correlated to the amount of tissue damage that you have”

“You can decrease someone’s pain by the nature of how you talk to them, how you touch them”

“I don’t really care if you feel better after (treatment), what I’m looking for is “does it last”, because anything can make a temporary change on your nervous system, but if it doesn’t stick, to me it’s useless, and what I’m finding is, the harder you go on your nervous system but the more it pushes back.  Not when I’m working on somebody, I don’t inflict any pain or any discomfort on any of the releases or movements that I’m doing”

“If you inflict pain on your body when I’m trying to teach you a different movement pattern, it won’t let you learn it.  Pain takes you into survival mode, and habit and compensation”

“If your nervous system and your brain feel threat in any way, it shuts off learning. Period.”

“I don’t even call it muscle testing anymore because the brain doesn’t think like that, I call it pattern testing.  I’m looking for how your brain can pattern external force”

“If you want to be a success, whatever that means for you, you have to embrace the willingness to look stupid”

“One of the biggest things that helps (corrective exercise) stick is not doing too much, too hard, too soon”

“(For fixing movement) I’ll put you down on the ground, and I get you into these ground based movement patterns, where you feel safe and you feel stable, because that’s where you learned to move in the first place”

“When I make you move, I’m looking at if your nervous system is freaking out”

“I don’t have a problem with the placebo effect…. this placebo stuff is beyond ridiculous!”

“I don’t use the word stability anymore, I use the word safety.  If your brain and your body feel safe, it’ll let you do whatever the #$^@ you want to do!”

About Perry Nickelston

Dr Perry NickelstonPerry Nickelston, DC, NKT, FMS, SFMA, is a Chiropractic Physician with primary focus on Performance Enhancement, Corrective Exercise, and Metabolic Fitness Nutrition and trained from The American College of Addictionology and Compulsive Disorders. He is an expert in myofascial, orthopedic, medical and trigger point soft tissue therapy. A member of the Board of Directors and Medical Staff Advisor for AIMLA (American Institute of Medical Laser Application). Dr. Perry teaches healthcare professionals all over the world how to successfully use Class IV Deep Tissue Laser Therapy in alleviating pain. Director of clinical protocols and training for LiteCure Medical Lasers specializing in Myofascial Laser treatments.

Dr. Perry is an expert in movement assessment and diagnosis. Certified and trained as a Functional Movement Specialist (FMS) and Selective Functional Movement Assessment Specialist (SFMA). He uses programs designed to find your source of painful dysfunction and correct it the site of pain improves. A regular columnist for Dynamic Chiropractic, Practice Insights, Chiropractic Economics, To Your Health Magazine, Advance Physical Therapy, PT on the Net, LiveStrong, StrengthCoach, and other industry publications for health and fitness

He is a 1997 graduate from Palmer Chiropractic University and a master fitness trainer with over 25 years experience in the health industry. Suffering from obesity as a teenager and overcoming all of the emotional strife that accompanies being overweight, Dr. Perry dedicated himself to teaching others how to get in shape and lead a healthy lifestyle. He is currently publishing several books on health, fitness, laser therapy, business success, and self treatment programs from his website.

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