#14 – Solving Athlete Pain with Charlie Merrill, PT

Today, Glen and I are joined by Charlie Merrill, PT in Boulder, Colorado. Charlie is a Physical Therapist who has been serving the Boulder community and athletes for over 20 years.  Over the past few years, Charlie has added pain science and more psychologically informed modalities to his manual therapy and biomechanical toolkits. He emphasizes the body and mind in identifying physical AND psychological/social factors that result in physical symptoms, like pain.  Charlie says the source of most athlete’s pain is often not what you’d expect and you can now work with him remotely at Lin Health, a new pain management platform.  

Charlie Merrill

Charlie’s website is

Charlie’s new pain management platform:

Charlie’s Youtube channel has nearly 200 videos with free content:

Charlie’s and Dr Howard Schubiner’s upcoming professional training for clinicians:

I learned from Charlie that there is a disconnect between pain and structural damage in the body.  What regular people think is true is that pain indicates something wrong, something damaged…that pain is a signal to slow down, be careful, let the damage heal.  But that is not always true.  Pain comes from the brain.

Listen in as Charlie explains the science and practice of solving pain issues for athletes.

Some topics we touch on:

  • What is pain and where does it come from? Is pain the same as damage to the body?
  • What is pain that seems to come out of nowhere?
  • What is chronic pain? Is it caused by damage to the body?
  • Are overuse injuries real? Is Wear and Tear for athletes a thing?
  • How to tell and how to deal with pain that is not related to damage in the body?
  • Advice for the older athlete who wants to remain strong and active for a long time? (Hint: add fun, pursue novelty, connect with your psychology)

The twin peaks model I referenced from the book “Explain Pain”Which can be downloaded here.  It’s excellent for anyone to read:

Other Resources:

Wise Athletes Recovery Deep Dive

Wise Athletes Recovery



A few documentaries but none really apply specifically to athletes.

The ever curious athlete who demands answers.
About the Author
Curious athlete who demands answers. Husband to Susan ( Father of 3 daughters. Athletic pursuits over time, in reverse order: cycling, skiing, mountaineering, rock climbing, triathlon, golf, tennis, football.

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