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How We Built the Curable App (Part II of the Curable App Founders' Special)

This interview is from the Like Mind, Like Body podcast. You can listen to the full interview below, on iTunes or Google Podcasts. Part 1 of this special can be founder here, Pain is the Worst (Part 1 of the Curable App Founder's Special)


Is it possible to help people reduce chronic pain just by using an app? The co-founders of the Curable App were hopeful that the answer would be “yes” - and it was. This episode continues our story as we follow John, Erich, and Laura in their quest to increase access to the tools and techniques that freed them from years of pain. Hear about how Curable got started, how it’s evolved, and how relapses of pain can be transformed into helpful reminders.

Laura:What’s been the biggest surprise you’ve had as we’ve built Curable?

Erich: That it’s very hard still. It shouldn’t be this challenging to get the word out with the amount of people this reaches and the amount of lives it changes. We get emails all the time from people who say “I have carpal tunnel, nothing has worked for me, and just listening to the podcast alone has made me start to feel 50% better, and I haven’t felt any relief in a long time.” It just seems like everyone should have heard about this by now with how amazing it is. But it’s still hard. We’re running into that wall, which everyone who has tried to do this in the past has before. But the internet has changed things, so that’s helping us.

John: There have been a few surprises from my perspective.

One is that for every 10-15 stories we get saying “this is so amazing, my life has changed, I’m feeling so much better,” there will be someone who comes in through social media or the website and without even trying the app or listening to the message, they try to “dispel and debunk” the science behind the brain’s role in pain. I guess it feels a little like an accusation. Like we’re trying to trick people into buying our app so that we can make a lot of money.

Laura: Which we are not doing, on a personal level.

John: [laughing] Yes, that’s been established. But I guess that’s still a little surprising to me. I know that there are hundreds of millions of people in the world, so everybody is different. And we reach out directly to consumers, so we are exposed to all different types of opinions, and I respect that. But I’m still surprised that there is so much resistance, especially when folks haven’t even given it a chance.

Laura: When I see that, of course my first gut reaction is frustration, because I am one of the folks who is working so hard to try and get this information to people in a way that it resonates with them. But my second reaction is to just feel for how badly that person must be hurting. Their lives have been drastically altered by whatever it is they are going through. I’m sure that they are intensely shell shocked by how many doctors they have been to, how many failed treatments they have tried, and maybe even times where they have been lied to in the past. Is it fair for them to take that out on us? No, but we understand it.

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John: The other surprising thing for me, on the flip side, is that I expected physical therapists to not be very supportive. I now know that my preconceived notions were completely inaccurate, but in my mind, I thought that they must be solely focused on the PHYSICAL. I thought that the physical focus might be in conflict with the work we do on the brain. And in my personal experience with physical therapy, I was never offered education on the brain’s role in my pain.

But what has been very surprising is that the physical therapy community has been the MOST embracing of what we are doing, of pain psychology, and pain education. We work with SO many of them now, and even have some on our scientific advisory board. It all complements so well that I now almost feel like we are one and the same.

For a lot of people, getting through chronic pain IS multimodality. It’s using Curable to work on your brain AND using physical therapy to get your body healthy again. They work so well together. And now the physical therapy community and Curable are very good friends.

Pictured above: The original Curable HQ, working from desks that Erich built from scratch in John's home.

[This was an excerpt. Listen to the full podcast above]

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