The power of what we say…
Ever heard someone say, “I put my back out” or “I’ve got three slipped discs”?
These can be common terms used to describe pain, but do we really know what they mean, and the effect those words can have on our bodies?
The latest evidence shows that words have a psychological impact on rehabilitation.
Let me explain and de-bunk a few myths along the way…
Let’s take the common phrase, “My back is out”
If your back (spine) was protruding out of your skin, then you would definitely not be sitting, standing, walking or talking.
Bone are strong and even when we do fracture bones (break bones), they just have a small crack in them like a small stone chip in your windscreen. The windscreen is still in its place, it still works, it is just not as strong and needs to be fixed. So you do what needs to happen to fix it.
“I’ve got 3 slipped discs in my back”
Your spine is made up of ring-like bones and discs one after the other, which are encased in thick strong, ligaments, tendons and other soft tissue to keep it all in place. The discs cannot just slip out anywhere…
It seems to be common belief that these discs can just slip in and out of place, which is not true at all! It is possible to get a disc bulge or herniation where the disc protrudes beyond its normal boundary. This is kind of like the bladder of your footy poking its way out a little bit when you’ve kicked it too many times. The difference is that a footy has no life and can’t mend itself, yet the human body can mend itself and heal this protrusion. We have cells that are constantly rebuilding, muscles moving and nutrients flowing. These living factors are what allows the body to heal, mend and improve itself.
“I need to fix my posture”
Physiotherapists recommend avoiding any sustained posture because the body is designed to move, change, adapt and be fluid to its environment. What this means is that we need to move, we need to change position regularly, but most of all, we need to be relaxed and comfortable!
People love to talk about ‘perfect posture’ with your chin tucked, shoulders back and down, spine long, chest out, tail bone tucked under and countless others I’m sure your grandparents have probably told you off for at some stage in your life!
You see posture is kind of like ice. If you keep it in the one place and let it get cold enough it will set and get stiff. But if you keep it moving and warm it up the ice will defrost, then it will stay fluid and easy to move. Nothing is concrete, the body is always changing. If you try to stand tall and confident, that is all you need to ensure your posture is ‘good’.
“I just need to rest it”
This is perhaps the worst advice you could be given for a muscle injury. Many people will take this to the extreme of completely making themselves bed ridden and being frightful of any little thing that may happen so that they don’t move and completely “seize up”. Yes, by all means, in the acute injury phase of the first 48-72 hours, an injury needs to be rested.
Manage the load and avoid aggravating it, but still carry on with your daily activities as best as possible and don’t do anything extreme. Keep your muscles moving as that’s what muscles are designed to do, and when ready, gradually increase the load (come and see us for more information about this to ensure a speedy recovery).
We hope you have learnt something here and are able to take away some of the key ideas to apply to your own understanding.
Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies – Movement for life