Has anyone ever told you that they have put their back out or popped a rib or slipped a disc? Of course they have, this is the sort of language we hear all the time!
What mental image do you immediately conjure up on hearing that a back is “out”, “popped” or “slipped”? Do you come up with mental images of joints no longer lining up – a spine zig zagged with discs that have moved all over the place?
Before I became a chiropractor I imagined that when my back went out it sort of became wonky with joints that no longer matched up. The term “popped a rib” brought to mind a rib that has dislocated itself from where it should be.
The imagination of the listener is contextual – it depends on their background and experience. This is why I try very hard not to tell people that I will just realign their spine and pop that rib right back where it belongs. Instead I take care to explain I am examining the function of joints and interested in returning this function to normal as gently as possible. Normal joints don’t cause pain.