My back is out… Where did it go?
As physio’s, we hear some really strong and scary language when it comes to describing injuries.
“I’ve thrown my back out”
“My knee is gone”
“It’s grinding bone on bone”
“I have a pinched nerve”
“My back is out of whack – you need to realign it”
“I was told my nerve is being crushed by a huge buldging disc”
Maybe you’ve been told these things by a medical professional, or maybe you are just describing the way it feels because it really, really hurts. Either way, there are some pretty scary thoughts there. Pinching, grinding, crushing – Makes me sore just thinking about it. As nasty as they may sound, how realistic are they?
Pain science research is growing at the speed of knots, with some real shifts in the way we think about pain. One thing is clear:
Pain does not always equal damage.
Pain is our body’s protection mechanism to threat or danger.
When our brain detects a perceived threat, it will send out a pain response to that area as a warning signal. This will cause us to move and behave differently to look after that spot, minimising the risk of damage. So as much as pain sucks, you can see it is actually a very important protective response.
Tricky to get your head around, I know.
I’m not saying your pain isn’t real, or that it is all in your head, but the power of language cannot be under-estimated, as it often feeds the pain response and reinforces those negative images. Scary language can add to the threat of an injury, increasing your pain.
As physiotherapists, we can help you unravel some of those more threatening thoughts like your back being out, to dampen down the threat, leading to less pain.
If you are having trouble with pain that you can’t get on top of, come in for an assessment with one of our physiotherapists who will help determine the source of your symptoms, and help you understand them better to assist your recovery.
Published by Matt Nowosilkyj