Being Opinionated

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Strong opinions, loosely held"?

It means that you should have thought and educated yourself on a topic such that you can have a good and valid opinion. Yet, at the same time, if you are challenged on your opinion you can still realize that you could be wrong. You have the ability to be a rational human and change your mind when presented with the right facts.

The opposite of this is called the 'backfire effect'. It is when someone is presented with facts that directly contradict their opinion yet they become even more firmly entrenched in their previous thinking.

This comic by Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal will challenge you about the backfire effect.

This is happening a lot in the physical therapy world currently.

I see it mostly with the arguments over dry needling and whether there is actually any benefit.

The dry needling proponents have used needling and seen some amazing results. But there are plenty of dry needling opponents who look at the research and see that nothing has really been shown to be conclusively good about dry needling.

I have a few issues with the way everyone is going about this. 

The opponents. They constantly cite the research saying that it doesn't show that dry needling works but then they also talk about all of the things done wrong in the studies. There do not seem to be enough studies right now that are actually well done, have standardized interventions, assessments, outcomes. The systematic reviews have to decide whether to include something similar like acupuncture (which they shouldn't) but iff they don't then they only have like 3 total studies to go off of. That is just not enough studies.

The dry needling opponents are right to some extent that the studies so far are very inconclusive. But that doesn't mean they are right either. The studies have also not shown that dry needling does not work at this point. You cannot argue that all of the studies are poorly done and then say that you are right that dry needling does not work. You just admitted that the studies cannot really tell you anything at this point.

Instead of pointless arguing on twitter there should be a concerted effort to really study the hot new trend in physical therapy.

The proponents also aren't very good at what they are doing either. They cite research that is pretty terrible. They argue from anectotal evidence.

The back and forth arguments on twitter are basically the perfect place for the bacfire effect to occur. There is just enough characters to inflame someone with an opposite opiion and not enough room to change your opinions that should be "loosely held".