Why We Need Permission to Move



Professor Lorimer Moseley | Why We Need Permission to Move


Several years ago I received an email from a physiotherapist fresh out of a Masters degree, apparently quite enamoured with the clinical reasoning and pain science aspects. He was charming and respectful. I learnt of his escapades as a younger man, and I noticed (by way of the many interruptions no matter which cafe across town we were sat) his remarkable network of friends. He gave them all attention and some time. He struck me early as having something special going on.

He put honesty over diplomacy: ‘to be honest, Loz, all this Explain Pain stuff you have done – well I reckon it’s not having enough impact out there. Something big is missing.’

‘What’s missing?’ I asked.

Therein started the first of a long series of excellent, candid, challenging and rewarding conversations with Dave ‘Totally Unique’ Moen. Dave is clearly a sharp thinker, a good communicator, committed to the common good, entrepreneurial and ethically minded. He reminded me of one of my favourite Famous Person Quotes “A sharp mind and a good heart is a formidable combination” (Nelson Mandela - I think). I was sufficiently interested in Dave’s ideas that I floated the idea of him pursuing them through a PhD. Supervisors such as myself are always on the lookout for students who will make us look rather better than we are! As he contemplated the idea he gained a deep understanding of self-efficacy theory and put forward ways that it might be integrated with contemporary pain science. He learnt a bit more about attempts being made by others to better integrate pain science education with care. For several years he explored the literature, grilled me on some of the finer aspects of my own work, and simultaneously applied it all to managing clients in his inner-city practice. His approach was therefore informed at a deep level by modern pain science, behavioural change science and self-efficacy theory. His journey has pulled in an impressive array of experts, and in each case he has taken the best of it and built a blended model of care that is both sensible and doable.

In our breakfast chats, I never fail to learn a great deal from Dave and I can see much of what I have learnt within the pages of this book. I have enjoyed his innovation when it comes to creating clinical spaces that ooze possibility and recovery. I have enjoyed his perspectives and real-world insight during our joint project alongside Sam Chisolm, culminating in the Tame the Beast animation and website. I have enjoyed his dedication to doing things that matter, joining our first Pain Revolution rural outreach tour and pushing for better access to contemporary care in disadvantaged groups. He is still channelling his substantial knowledge, significant clinical nous and his disarming persona into better outcomes for his clients. I have respected his self-doubt when it emerges and the honesty and courage with which he uses those times to become better – this aspect of his character may well underpin the approach captured in this book which relies on learning, re-thinking, trying things despite apprehension, overcoming fears and taking on (one of my favourite Dave Sayings) ‘a new sense of what is possible’.

I recommend more patients to Dave’s clinic – the authors of this book – than I do to anyone else. This is because I think they are indeed filling an important, missing bit. I recommend this book to clinicians who want to instil confidence in their clients that it is indeed safe to move and that it is possible to retrain their system back to a normal life. 

Permission to Move is a set of tools to treat chronic pain. It is an online course for patients looking to overcome their chronic pain, and it is a collection of resources for clinicians to use in practice.


Lorimer Moseley - Co-author of Explain Pain and Explain Pain Supercharged. Professor of Clinical Neurosciences & Foundation Chair in Physiotherapy University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia - DSC PHD FACP FAAHMS FFPMANZCA(HON) MAPA(HON)

Professor Lorimer Moseley is a clinical scientist investigating pain in humans. After posts at The University of Oxford, UK, and the University of Sydney, Lorimer was appointed Professor of Clinical Neuroscience and Chair in Physiotherapy at the University of South Australia. He is also Senior Principal Research Fellow at NeuRA and an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow.

He has published over 310 papers, six books and numerous book chapters. He has given over 150 keynote or invited presentations at interdisciplinary meetings in 30 countries. He has provided professional education in pain sciences to over 25,000 medical and health practitioners and public lectures to as many again. His research group’s videos and articles have been viewed over 4.5 million times.

Lorimer was awarded the inaugural outstanding mid-career clinical scientist prize by the International Association for the Study of Pain, was runner-up for the 2012 Australian Science Minister’s Prize for Life Sciences, and won the 2013 Marshall & Warren Award for the Best Innovative and Potentially Transformative Project in Australia. He was made an Honoured Member of the Australian Physiotherapy Association, their highest honour, in 2014 and is the only physiotherapist to be made Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Pain Medicine, Australia New Zealand College of Anaesthetists. His contribution to pain science and rehabilitation has been recognised with awards from 12 countries. Treatments he devised are now recommended in best practice guidelines internationally.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.