A few weeks back, I was talking to someone who knows a fair bit about pain. They shared with me the fact that they were experiencing quite significant back pain; had been for a few days after a relatively minor incident. They explained that the pain was pretty severe at times, had interrupted sleep and most movements were reduced and painful. They weren’t too concerned, thought it likely that there was a bit of inflammation going on but the whole thing would settle down and eventually go away with a bit of time and some carefully graded movement and activity.
Then they said something that I reckon sums up one of the biggest problems “out there” while also reinforcing education as one of the most (if not THE most) powerful interventions that a person in trouble can be provided. They said (I paraphrase a little):
“If I didn’t understand what was going on with my back, I think that I might be pretty worried and scared by what I’m feeling right now. I can certainly understand why some people feeling something like this might get more than a bit freaked out”
What a powerful and privileged position we are in as clinicians and therapists when people in trouble come to see us- those precious minutes spent on education that can lead to new understanding, the reduction of fear and the abatement of suffering.