The phrase ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’ is a polite way of saying that you should follow the culture of the place where you are situated. ‘Fitting in’ is something that many seek to achieve yet it can be a challenging task in the workplace, in the sports team and even at home. We often like to belong as it can create a sense of meaning.
When it comes to pain, the experience is individual and subjective. Only that person can reside in that world and it is a lonely place despite others’ efforts to understand. Interestingly there are some contrasts whereby despite the isolation that pain can bring, there are many common behaviours that are adopted. For example we limp when our knee or ankle hurt, we draw in and elevate a painful shoulder and keep our backs rigid on attempting to bend, often with an accompanying grunt, groan and facial contorsion. These associated actions attract attention and warn others nearby that there is something wrong. Interestingly we can create a habit of doing this and continue to ‘ooh’, ‘ahh’ and suck backwards through our teeth even if the movement no longer hurts. They are all emergent expressions of pain just as the experience of pain itself is emergent from the self.
So we could say that there is a culture around pain and that ‘when in pain, do as the painful do’. This means fitting in with others who have pain although in fact we are all isolated in our own unique experiences. We can fundamentally only feel what we feel. I can think that I know what you are feeling because I have been somewhere similar, but alas it is only an illusion.
It may be useful to demonstrate pain behaviours, for this is what I have been describing, in the early stages. This may help me to gain assistance and to protect the healing tissues. Biologically this is very useful. As time trundles on, if the pain persists then understandably so do the behaviours. Seeking to change the emergent behaviours, metaphors and language become part of tackling the sensitivity. Our thinking is as much part of the process of sensitisation as is movement. Our thinking emerges from our belief system which in turn drives behaviours.
So, it is useful to fit into the culture of pain if we can use that term, for a period of time before seeking to change our behaviours via beliefs and point our compass towards physical and mental wellness.
RS – come and visit our clinic site here