Dr. Ann Griffin developed and teaches Symptom Evolution, a revolutionary health care methodology that produces consistent and rapid relief of even the most complex pain conditions.
After several years in her manual therapy practice, she realized traditional diagnosis and treatment algorithms were woefully inadequate to get the kind of results she wanted for her patients. Why do two patients with the same condition get markedly different results to the same treatment? Why do symptoms return?
Symptom Evolution was developed to not only answer these questions, but create a system to dramatically increase the efficiency of health care as we know it. She holds two degrees from University of Western States and has been in practice for 12 years.
Ann still maintains a private practice in central Oregon and teaches this important work both at home and abroad. She also enjoys chasing her kiddos, rafting, skiing, and lifting weights.
Connect with Ann on LinkedIn and follow Symptom Evolution on Facebook and Instagram.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode
- Origin and mission of Symptom Evolution
- Frustrations of patients and doctors alike in our current healthcare climate
- Business mindset and modeling a culture of “Elevate and Celebrate”
- Future of Symptom Evolution and shifting our health care model
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for High Velocity radio.
Stone Payton: [00:00:15] Welcome to the high velocity radio show where we celebrate top performers producing better results in less time. Stone Payton here with you this afternoon. This is going to be a marvelous conversation. You guys are in for such a real treat. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast with Symptom Evolution and Griffin, how are you?
Ann Griffin: [00:00:37] Oh, I’m awesome. It’s been a great day. Thanks for having me on.
Stone Payton: [00:00:40] Yeah, It’s a delight to have you on the program. I think a great place to start might be if you could articulate for us mission purpose what what you and your team are really out there trying to do for folks.
Ann Griffin: [00:00:55] Oh, same thing that you’re trying to do better results in less time. So the work that I do symptom evolution refers to a health care methodology, and this methodology is just a refinement of our question and answer or question asking during a history intake. And it’s also to identify really the root cause, because it’s one of the biggest plagues in all of health care. And it doesn’t matter what your stripe is, whether you’re a physical therapist, an orthopedic surgeon, a massage therapist, it doesn’t matter what flavor of health care practitioner you are, there’s a lot of guesswork that goes into it with our current model that we don’t really understand what’s causing somebody’s knee pain. We’ve kind of got a best guess, and so there’s a lot of trial and error, and that alone is the number one drag on. Our gross domestic product is low back pain because we can’t accurately identify what’s actually causing someone’s lower back pain, much less fix it in a consistent or an efficient manner. And so that’s the the problem that symptom set symptom evolution set out to solve is to have a much more accurate way of taking a history to get us a much more accurate diagnoses and therefore guide a much more efficient treatment progress moving forward. On average, even for very complex cases, we only treat somebody maybe 2 to 4 times and then their problem is expected to make a full resolution and not return.
Stone Payton: [00:02:23] Wow. That is incredible. I guess I already knew or felt like I knew that, you know, patients and doctors alike are probably very frustrated with the with the current health care climate. But I don’t think I anticipated the immediate and direct impact on economics, like the like the gross domestic product that. Wow, that’s alarming.
Ann Griffin: [00:02:47] Yeah. And unnecessary. We spend the most amount of money here in the United States on health care and our outcomes are pretty mediocre. So in admitting the emperor has no clothes, what we were, what our working diagnosis or our premises that we were rendering our health care was based on, there’s a glitch somewhere. And that is evidenced again by the inefficient or the ineffective care outcomes that we get. So, for example, it’s a completely acceptable course of care to see somebody 12 to 16 times in physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, and you expect to have that dosage of care before you start to expect results, number one. And two, you already expect the problem to return. There is something wrong with this picture.
Stone Payton: [00:03:37] Yeah, I’ll say.
Ann Griffin: [00:03:39] Right. That’s you know, how many times do you need to bake a cookie? Right. I think you’re doing it wrong. And that’s not to disparage any of my wonderful colleagues out there in the field, but that there’s got to be a better way. There’s got to be a more efficient way, because the frustration that’s felt by patients when they see practitioner after practitioner and they can’t figure out why they’re in pain or the treatment, the trials of treatments that they’ve had maybe rendered some pretty mediocre outcomes. The problem still comes back, or maybe at worst didn’t have an effect at all or made them worse. The surgery didn’t work. The surgery made them worse. The cortisone injection didn’t work, the physical therapy didn’t work. And those patients start to lose hope because their practitioners can’t explain why they’re still having symptoms. But to enlighten patients, us as practitioners, we all get into this field because we want to be of help, we want to be of service. And when our patients come back and say, Doc, I’m worse. Doc, it didn’t make a difference. Yeah, maybe I got a day of relief, but not more than that. We feel the frustration too, but on our side to get curious about why that is, that’s really where symptom evolution was born is because as my patients were coming back and I was really good at the work that I already knew how to do, but I was still only hitting maybe an 86% success rate.
Ann Griffin: [00:05:00] And I couldn’t explain why to people with what I. It was the same knee pain. One would get better and I do the same thing for the other person and they wouldn’t y y. And there’s some patterns that started to show up. So I observed, for example, that when patients had more than three injuries, significant injuries or surgical events, and again, they’re interchangeable. The more stuff that happened to somebody in somebody to a person in someone’s life, the less likely the work I already knew how to do was going to be effective. And I also noticed if somebody had a lot of dislocations and not any broken bones, the work I was going to do didn’t work either. Just those kinds of things. So I started to do a lot of research and it really started to come together that when A plus B equals C, well, then it follows logically, the D plus equals F, and this goes all the way to Z. And when I started to apply the principles, I got amazing, miraculous, almost unbelievable results. And it just has to do with identifying some root causes that are not known by the health care profession at large yet. So on a mission to really change how we see the body and up the standards of what we think is an acceptable outcome of care I don’t think is good enough.
Stone Payton: [00:06:16] So then you find yourself beginning to educate other practitioners in this pursuit.
Ann Griffin: [00:06:23] Mm hmm. When I started to get some pretty amazing results, I was like, Oh, okay, I’m on to something. Because when I got hundreds and hundreds of patient reports and patient outcomes that were just unbelievable, I took on three students. They were practitioners whom I knew locally and it took about three months to train them. And these poor these poor first students didn’t have any visual aids. I didn’t have any lecture notes. I just firehose them with information. But we ended up crafting a course that is very digestible. The first level course is about 10 hours. It’s all done online and as I saw, these practitioners who then graduated became certified in symptom evolution, not only understand what I was trying to tell them, but apply it and they get the exact same amazing results. So this technique is reproducible that I’m not special. It’s just a few missing pieces of information that we lack as health care professionals to get the kind of efficient and effective care that both the practitioner and the patient really want.
Stone Payton: [00:07:32] You’re so energetic, you’re so enthusiastic. It comes through over the airwaves. You clearly find the work incredibly rewarding. What are you enjoying the most at this point in the evolution of this?
Ann Griffin: [00:07:46] Oh, it has to be the ripple effects. So here’s me just having lunch at the desk because I do have a private practice still here in central Oregon. Here’s me sitting at the desk just quietly eating my lunch because like a human being, like any other human being, I need some fuel to. And out comes the massage therapist to a graduate of mine and the lady who’s checking out, she’s just in tears. She’s in tears of joy because 20 years of jaw pain in one visit is now gone and she’s just so profuse. And thank you. I can’t thank you enough to this to the massage therapist. She has no idea who I am. She has no idea that I was the person that developed the work that has now changed her life. And it just makes my heart sing. So I know there will be thousands and thousands of patients that I don’t even know the names of that get the benefit of this work and can go back to being their best mom, their best dad, their best nurse, their best doctor, because they don’t have back pain. They don’t have any pain. Pain makes us grouchy. It makes us bad moms. It makes us bad wives. It makes us bad employees and bosses. When we hurt our world, hurts our lives suffer as a result of that. And so that excitement of spreading the work in and of itself makes it all worth it.
Stone Payton: [00:09:04] So have you had to to learn or create a whole different approach to the to the sales and marketing thing with with getting this course out there, this methodology out there? Or were you able to apply some of the same principles you did in growing your practice?
Ann Griffin: [00:09:20] Yeah, So great question, because when we have a product that is so what we’ll say unique or new to market, there is a great sort of untested credibility concern that comes up. So all the students that I have have had up until now, they have experienced the work personally and that’s why they decided to take the coursework. So when I travel to go cultivate a learning pod, this is quite different than I’m not selling selling fingernail clippers. Right. Everyone knows what a fingernail clipper is. There might be different brands. Some might work better than others, but you understand what it is and what it’s for. So symptom evolution because again, the work and the result is almost unbelievable. So when I go and do a demonstration with a learning pod of practitioners who are interested in the work, I have them give me set up four in a weekend to three patients that I would call a treatment failures, right where they’re coming in for the same thing. Everyone’s scratching their head and no one can figure it out. And almost wordlessly I just go to work and it takes me about 2 to 3 hours and the patient gets off the table and they say, My hip, 20 years of hip pain, it’s gone. And that’s when people really get curious. So in that regard, entering the town square, that is social media marketing, so on and so forth, I can use words, words, words all day long to trumpet the benefits and try to explain what symptom evolution is. But at this stage, seeing really is believing. So in that regard, my product, so to speak, it’s intellectual property, so it’s a bit abstract being a non tangible product already, but it’s even more abstract because it’s revolutionary.
Ann Griffin: [00:11:05] So that little piece of it, as you can imagine, I have a very multi pronged approach. You’ve got to get really creative. So yes, social media marketing is one thing, but I also have to build up my authority ship, so to speak. So I’m doing podcasts like these, spreading the word, having a long format sort of tome or body of work it’s called. So when people pop on to social media, they might get really curious about some Instagram videos that I posted or TikTok videos. They’ll go to my website, then they can read some longer format blogs or some go to some links to the podcast. So when somebody already opened the crack in the door, it’s not more Instagram posts or social media posts that really create what we call conversion, right, where somebody is interested. But what makes a difference between someone who clicks on a website versus click buy and opens up their wallet, right? So as a business owner, I’ve had some really interesting quandaries that are unique to what I do. Again, very different than selling fingernail clippers, right? You just got to seal the deal with your manufacturers and then bring that baby to market with some some jazzy marketing, that kind of thing. This is quite a bit different. And again, having a multi-pronged approach and really looking to create the credibility and the authority ship is a big, big, big part of when somebody like me has some intellectual property that’s pretty revolutionary and they’re onto something, that piece of it makes it, I guess, like a puzzle. But that in and of itself is pretty fun to.
Stone Payton: [00:12:39] Well, and you’re the kind of person who celebrates challenges. I can see that as you continue to sort of build out this this tribe and you’re building your your business, what counsel, if any, would you have to offer in terms of, I don’t know, keeping people as inspired and as as enthusiastic as you are about this and celebrating the challenge and celebrating the the wins, because obviously you’ve you’ve you’ve cracked the code on that avenue.
Ann Griffin: [00:13:11] So that’s so what you’re really harkening to is mindset. So yeah, and for all of us and it doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner or an entrepreneur or not, or if you’re just a middleman selling fingers, fingernail clippers and looking how to laterals and maximize your business or you’re focusing on margins, etc., or you’re somebody that is kind of an industry innovator or what have you. You can be a mom, you could be a dad, you could be a boss. All of those avenues invariably present us with challenges. And when we look at a challenge as a barrier, you’ll never jump over it. You’ll never you won’t even try. You’re defeated before you begin. And the opposite of fear is curiosity. So I knew instead of being afraid, no one’s going to believe me. Instead of that, I got curious How can I get people to trust what I’m saying? What have other people done? And when we get curious and we learn from those who’ve gone before us, and sometimes that means throwing out the book, that’s that everyone else is reading, right? Sometimes you just sometimes you have to reinvent the wheel, right, and go go with your gut. But I don’t think that I need to waste 3 to 5 years chasing my tail or doing it the hard way. And that has a lot to do with what we believe. So if, for example, in parenting or an employee employer relationship, the boss that yells at his employee, he’s just out of ideas, right? He just doesn’t have another tool in his belt.
Ann Griffin: [00:14:49] The number one guidepost for me is if I ever feel uncomfortable and that can be bored, lonely, frustrated, angry, afraid, whatever it is, if I ever feel uncomfortable all the. It doesn’t mean that something has gone wrong, but it does mean that I need a tool that I don’t currently have. And that’s where Curiosity comes in. It’s like, Well, I feel really frustrated about that technological platform. How can I make this fun, right? How can I turn this into a game? And the love of learning is so far outweighs my fear of looking stupid or getting it wrong. That right there, there’s no such thing as a barrier for me. Everything is an opportunity to learn. I just had a patient coming in today in tears because she was in so much pain. I’d seen her twice. She was great and then all of a sudden pain out of nowhere. And she says, I feel like I’m going backwards. So we had that conversation and we both got curious. I just learned how to recognize congenital stenosis in a 19 year old. Who would have thunk it, right? So instead of getting afraid, Oh, I’ve done something wrong. I’ve made this patient unhappy. I’ve lost a customer. I was like, What’s this about? And every time curiosity turns that barrier into a stepping stone or a springboard, it’s amazing.
Stone Payton: [00:16:12] Well, it makes perfect sense to me that the most powerful lever in this, this movement, if you will, is educating, inspiring practitioners. Is there any room in this pursuit to equip the patient to somehow make it easier to help create a symptom evolution climate in the in the conversation in the room? Is there anything from the patient side?
Ann Griffin: [00:16:40] Yeah. So think about let’s let’s let’s look at a different field. For example, think about the therapist that works with somebody for 30 years, like a talk therapist. A psychologist? Yeah. I would question your methodology. Why do you need to keep saying them? Because the huge part of the psychiatry field, et cetera, is to give tools, is to teach self sufficiency. Right? To teach people to fish, not to give them the fish. Right. Not to create that reliance. And that in and of itself is embedded in sort of the inherent flaws in the framework of how our are United States health care is structured because we incentivize quantity of care because it’s the far most profitable thing to do is very extractive, right? You make a lot of money when somebody needs you over and over and over. Right? So a big part of how a patient can get the most out of the care that they do have available to them. And again, I’m not disparaging my very talented colleagues in all flavors. I do refer out for drugs and surgery. I do refer out for physical therapy. We all have our own gifts to bring. But the patient who might be listening to this, or somebody who owns a human body, everyone to get the most out of the care that you are able to access is again, get curious was like, Well, you’re saying such and such.
Ann Griffin: [00:18:02] What happens if I add some foam rolling into the mix or you know, Doc, I like what you’re saying and I’m definitely feeling better. And I understand the course of care that you’re recommending. What are my other options? What can I do? Is there anything that I can do that would affect this? Or when somebody isn’t getting the effectiveness out of the care that they believe is possible? It doesn’t mean that you’re rejected that practitioner as a person, but it may not be the right key for your lock. Don’t kid yourself. Well, you know, I’ve seen you five times and it’s helping, but my issue keeps coming back. I want to do some digging. I want to go look around the patient that gets curious, both with whether they stick with the form of care they’re in or they look around or they do some research on their own. The patient that gets curious is always going to have a much, much, much better outcome and a faster outcome, better results in less time. And it’s just because your is based on our each of our individual willingness to do as much as we can where we can.
Stone Payton: [00:19:05] You have so much going on and so much to to do and you seem to be up for it from an energy standpoint. And I know I mean, you’re human. You got to sometimes run your tanks got to run low occasionally. When that does happen, where do you go? And I don’t I don’t necessarily mean a physical place, but to to to get inspired and sort of recharge. Where do you go for that? How do you do that?
Ann Griffin: [00:19:33] Oh, that’s a great question. So the the the not so mythical beast of work life balance, right? So even though my work juices me to the max, I am absolutely. I know with every fiber of my being this is what I’ve been put on this earth to do. I like to do other things too. So most of the time it’s simply a matter of scheduling. It’s a matter of self-compassion. When I let something fall through the cracks or if I drop a ball, it means I’ve got too many balls and I need to recalibrate what’s going on. So again, just like with the physical body, when we’re asking somebody about their knee pain, etc., there’s things that somebody’s knee pain behavior means. It doesn’t mean just because someone has knee pain doesn’t mean they have knee cancer. That’s not what that means. Similarly, if I’m overworked, fatigued, tired, resentful, it doesn’t mean something’s gone wrong, but it does mean something’s out of balance. And sometimes the tool that I need to recalibrate is how well I manage my time. Other times it might be how well I can delegate or, you know, I thought I needed to do this, but I think my assistant can take care of that. Sometimes it’s releasing all all of our first and worst vice, the illusion of control. Sometimes things just aren’t up to us. And to be able to admit that because when we drop the ball, it doesn’t mean that we’re a bad person and we suck at our jobs.
Ann Griffin: [00:21:01] Or we should just give up now. Oh, you idiot. I don’t let those those kinds of voices, they don’t even get to enter into my brain. I have long since kicked them out of my court, and it’s simply because it doesn’t get me anywhere, you know, berating yourself for a perceived mistake, etc. never moves the needle forward. You just it’s a blind alley. It just leads to a waiting place where you go nowhere and you do nothing. So when I run out of juice, oh, I do all kinds of things. I go weightlifting, I raft, I hang out with my kids, I read books that don’t matter. All that and every day it might be a little bit something different. Some days I don’t get as much me time as possible. But it is really important that if I’m uncomfortable, something’s out of balance and it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m not secretly a marine where I just think, you know, the more the harder, the better. I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe that struggle is the defining the definition of success. Right. I don’t think that I know that we can all do hard things, but we don’t have to do them the hardest way.
Stone Payton: [00:22:06] I am so glad that I asked. I found all of that to be incredibly helpful counsel. But what I wrote down in my notebook was read books that don’t matter.
Ann Griffin: [00:22:18] I try to rotate them, so sometimes I read a book about mindset or social media marketing or I have that in there. Right now I’m reading the Midnight Library by Matt Haig, Whoever you are out there, thank you for this book. Another super fun one. I like to double dip. If you haven’t read, you’re a badass by Jensen Churro portion. She swears a lot. It is hysterical. And it will. It is just a game changer. And the magic of of whether it’s what will, say, books that don’t matter or books that do matter. Or is this. Am I? Do I think I need to get something out of this or is this just going to be what it’s going to be thoughtful digestion of whatever’s presented, even if there’s only a little speck of gold in there, you can turn it into a fountain by letting it affect you, giving it some meaningful digestion, absorbing what’s useful and letting the rest go.
Stone Payton: [00:23:15] Well said. All right, so what’s next? And when I say next, I’m really talking about short horizon. I don’t know. Maybe 6 to 18 months. Yeah.
Ann Griffin: [00:23:26] What’s next? Again, the cultivating learning pods to make symptom evolution a modality that’s available in as many places as possible, and then refining the refining. You know, my third or second elevator speech, we can always be better. I don’t remember who said this was Abraham Lincoln. He said, if you if he asked me to write a speech that’s an hour long, it’ll take me a day. If you ask me to write something that’s two sentences that’ll take me three months. Yeah. To to be really, really concise in my ideas and my beliefs and just, like, symptom evolution as a methodology. Faster results in less time. That goes for myself to and not because I’m running out of time. Everything that I have is enough. The 16 to 18 month window is enough to start to see the change that I know is possible in this world. And again, the vehicle that I’m choosing to use is via health care innovation. But this is available to us all. And I’d invite everyone. Think different. Think lateral. Think upside down.
Stone Payton: [00:24:42] All right. Let’s make sure that our listeners have an easy way to tap into your work, maybe connect with you or someone on your team. Yeah, whatever’s appropriate. I just want to make sure that. That we give them an easy path to to to continue this conversation in this pursuit.
Ann Griffin: [00:24:58] Yeah. So for my social media platforms, all of my handles are the same, and it’s at Symptom EVO and you can also visit my formal website symptom EVO and there is a contact form you can get directly to me. I don’t have a CEO yet, so when you write an email on the contact list, it goes right to me and I respond very promptly.
Stone Payton: [00:25:19] Well, and it has been an absolute delight having you on the show this afternoon. Thank you for sharing your insight, your perspective, and mostly your energy. I just I have had the best time visiting with you and you’re doing such important work and we sincerely appreciate you.
Ann Griffin: [00:25:39] Oh, so are you stone like hats off to you. You’re just elevating and celebrating everyone. And I think it’s marvelous. Don’t stop.
Stone Payton: [00:25:48] Well, thank you. I’ll try not to. And it’s been my pleasure. All right. Until next time, this is Stone Payton for our guest today, Anne Griffin with Symptom Evolution. And everyone here at the Business Radio X family saying we’ll see you in the fast lane.