A surprising number of patients come to see us saying things like “I am simply broken” or “it’s what I should expect at my age I suppose” or “my back is really weak”. The question is, is this Really true?
Sometimes Mr Google will have led them to this belief or it could have been a passing comment from a friend or colleague or even another healthcare professional. A lot of people like to share with others the more dramatic stories too. “My friend had that and ended up having surgery” or the “I know someone who had tingling and it turned out to be MS”. Whilst there are cases like this, we need to also appreciate they are not the most common scenario.
When we visit a healthcare professional, generally we expect an explanation of why our body has failed us and given us the pain or symptoms we have. We want to know what has broken down or gone wrong and a lot of people may then begin, aided by Google to expect the worst.
This can lead to an over sensitisation of being aware of our faults, which can also be exacerbated by the language which is sometimes used, especially with joint and back pain. Phrases like “your joints are worn out”, “you need to rest not exercise”, “it is your job”, “you need to be careful”, “don’t bend”, “don’t lift” and the list goes on and on. These ‘faults and flaws’ can then potentially be backed up with a scan or x-ray confirming “ You see Mrs Jones, your joints are simply worn out, as you would expect at your age”.
The thing is those people who believe they have a weak spine, an unstable spine, a worn spine are more likely to then behave like they have. They may rest more, be more protective in their movements and avoid more and more activities. This then means when they do actually bend for example, the back thinks “oooh this is new for me, I don’t normally move like this” and so it protects and over-guards, causing pain. The pain then gives the thought again of “I shouldn’t bend” and the cycle of over protecting repeats.
In contrast think about how you would feel if you heard phrases like “ your back is one of your strongest structures in your whole body”, “your back improves with movement”, “the changes we see are normal”, “pain does not mean something is wrong, it just means the area is sensitive”. We regularly see scan images of patients that are very “worn out” and yet the client comes in all singing and dancing. Whereas another has very mild changes on scanning and is in agony. Pain does not always equate to an image.
Our bodies are great at helping us back to health, they just sometimes need us to listen to what they tell us and to give them a little encouragement. Small changes can lead to big improvements, but altering mind-sets can be the hardest challenge of all. Regain control on that and set about making small changes today!
For more help and assistance, call our team today on 01903 820206 or see worthingosteopathy.com