Unhelpful imagery

Words are descriptive

When we hear them we conjure up a mental image of meaning. This mental image helps us to build understanding and beliefs around what we are being told.

Pain killers

The use of this term to describe paracetamol, ibuprofen and opiates comes from the idea that we are at war with pain. Pain is the enemy and we want to kill it, stone dead. In reality in most cases pain is not the enemy, it is a very useful self protection mechanism. Its far more helpful to view pain as a friend who occasionally visits at unsocial hours and can be a bit annoying. We don’t want kill it just soften it down a touch.

The Spinal Column

When you think of a column do you think of a dynamic structure that is ever moving, flexible and mobile, constantly adapting to the stresses and strains placed upon it? Me neither.

I googled column and this was the first image that popped up. Old and crumbling was a general theme for pictures of columns. This is not helpful when thinking about a spine. Your spine is not a column its a series of flexible and strong mobile parts.

Take care, rest, look after yourself

Okay, this is the sort of thing someone who cares about you might say and its nice they care. But if your doctor or chiropractor tell you to “take care” the immediate thought might be “Why, whats wrong, what do I need to take care of?”. They may know something that you don’t or they may just want to let you know that they care. The problem isn’t that they care, its that they are in a position of authority and they have told you to “take care”. Humans are self protection super stars and if there is any concern at all that there may be need to look after yourself that is what you will do.

Better advice may be to “listen to your body”, “do the best you can do” or “don’t be afraid to test yourself”.

Pain threshold

This term seems to suggest that there is a set point. Before this point is reached no pain is felt. After the threshold all hell breaks loose! In reality pain is felt when our credible evidence of threat exceeds our credible evidence of safety. This can change according to the time of day, our imagination, beliefs and understanding of what is wrong with us. As well as how much damage we have actually managed to do to ourselves! There is no threshold below which there is no feeling, we feel all the time. Sometimes we ignore it, other times it is very bothersome indeed.



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