Evolutionary psychologists put it down to the fact that humans passed knowledge through the generations by telling stories. Our lives literally depended on remembering knowledge passed down by our elders, so the easier it is to remember, the better. Studies have even shown that different parts of our brain fire up when we are taught something using rhyme or alliteration, compared to the same information explained without them.
Most rhymes are a great tool to help us remember things, but strangely, some actually cause us harm.
In the last ten years there have been some amazing breakthroughs in the world of pain science. We are starting to understand that a major influencer of chronic pain is the language we use (both in our heads and out loud).
‘Wear and Tear’
If you have ever been told you have ‘wear and tear’, what image does it create in your mind? The word ‘tear’ in particular, that’s the strongest image in my mind. I imagine a tethered shipping rope, or an old pair of jeans. But this is not how the body works.
Yes, we wear as we age, but we also repair. Our bodies are known as ‘bioplastic’, which means that they adapt to the stimulus they are given. While we are wearing, we are repairing.
The image I have in my mind of a tethered rope is also untrue. Muscles and tendons can tear, but in reality, the effect is more like a small hole in a sheet, rather than a torn rope. Imagine holding up a bedsheet with a hole in it; you’d still be able to create tension in the sheet by pulling on the corners, wouldn’t you?
Our muscles do the same. Once the inflammation has died down, a muscle can still function even with strains in them.
On very rare occasions a muscle will completely tear and that can require surgery, but guess what, that repairs too!
Some other interesting research is showing that there isn’t much correlation between degenerative changes in our body and pain. Sometimes there is a link, but if you were to scan 100 random people, most of them would have some form of joint degeneration but only a few of them would have pain.
You may be thinking, “this is all well and good, but I do have pain related to arthritis, there’s no hope for me”. Well, the research comes to the rescue here as well.
Here are some rhymes and alliterations that are more helpful:
‘Wear and Repair’
The way you repair is by getting the right hands-on treatment to accelerate the reduction in pain (that’s where we can help). Then nourish your tissues (remember, motion is the lotion!), and use the medicine of movement to stay loose, strong and coordinated.
All you care about day to day is how well you can move through the space around you and whether or not it causes pain. The fact that there is some wear in your body (which most of the time doesn’t cause pain) is not an issue.
If you are in pain, get treatment and keep moving! Simple!
Any enquiries about treatment can be made by emailing [email protected], calling 01245 522360, or you can explore our website. We also give out lots of exercise and health videos on YouTube and Facebook so you can follow us there.
Have a healthy month!
This blog has been inspired by the wonderfully funny, educational and inspiring knowledge from the guys at noijam. I encourage you to check them out if you suffer with chronic pain or if you want to delve deeper into the curious world of neurology.