Want to know what really annoys me?
You wouldn’t believe the amount of people we see who are stressed about their pain. Stressed because they are worried that they’ll end up in a wheelchair, or will never get back to work, or never play sport again. Why? One of the reasons is because people (and Dr. Google) are telling them all of their doomsday stories, worst case scenarios about how they knew someone who had the exact same thing, it ruined their life, they never recovered from their injury, and life was never the same again.
The irony is that by telling the person with the injury this, you are actually increasing the likelihood of their injury not recovering – why? Because stress can almost double recovery time. Fears of doing damage can make a person avoid moving properly, which will affect their ability to heal (see image) The body weakens from lack of proper activity, which can make everything worse. Sleep can be affected, which can almost double recovery time. Pain threshold reduces, so pain is felt more severely.
So at a time when we need the body to get stronger and heal well, the opposite is happening. All because of negative thoughts creeping in.
But the good news is – positive stories and encouragement can flip that negative cycle into a positive one. Listening to and addressing someones fears can help them to overcome them.
So the next time someone tells you about their back pain, listen, tell them you understand, and do what you can to help them on their way. You wouldn’t believe the power of this.