Pain metaphors (1)

Story telling | Narrative | MetaphorsA recent comment that I thought summed up several dimensions of the pain experience: ‘my life is contracted’.

Does anyone relate to this?

There can be a physical sense to ‘contraction’ whereby limited movement causes stiffness alongside the tension and guarding that limit mobility and reduce tolerance for activities. Pertinent is the fact that often these activities are the normal day to day pass-times and tasks that one can take for granted, until they become difficult or deemed impossible.

One’s thinking and sensory experience of the World can be ‘contracted’ as the pain becomes all consuming, occupying thoughts and movements to the point that there is little else.

Metaphors that spill from the individual’s thinking and experiences are such valuable insight. Expression of narrative and metaphor should be encouraged and then crafted into different language underpinned by a reconceptualised perspective as the mechanisms of pain and the influences upon pain are discovered and understood.

If you are so inclined, share your thoughts.

RS – Specialist Pain Physio Clinics, London

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2 thoughts on “Pain metaphors (1)

  1. I went through a period this year of a “contraction” of my world. I was put under a lot of stress earlier this year and became depressed and hypersensitive to touch, light and noise (which looks as if it’s permanent). My home became my nest in which I hibernated and sheltered from pain. Thinking back my world did contract insofar as I cut down on all my activities but the world of pain and sensory overload expanded at the same time. The only medical professional I was able to speak to frankly was my pain management consultant- he listened to my pain narrative and was able to point me in the right direction for my emotional needs: he put me onto a pain management group and I feel am becoming more resilient. Being able to express my pain narrative is allowing me to broaden my world again. So often pain is dismissed and empathy is missing in this hurried world. Perhaps peer mentoring within the NHS could be a partial solution (perhaps CCGs involved in social prescribing?)

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