Popping your disc – when ‘elegant simplifications’ are ‘catastrophic trivialisations’

I know a good number of well meaning clinicians who love telling patients how bad their injury is – “Wo George – you are lucky you didn’t end up in a wheelchair!” – “Martha – you have the back of an 80 year old” – “Jeepers John – it’s bone on bone in there!”.  How many surgeons visit their patient a week after surgery and say, with a glint in their eye, “you certainly messed it up in there didn’t you!?!”  Well I reckon we could do well to think carefully about the accuracy of not only what we say, but what we imply, when we tell patients what is happening inside their body.  We are, after all, their main source to very important information about how danerous this situation really is. This point was made particularly clear to me when a fellow tried to sell me an educational model of the lumbar spine, at a conference on low back pain.  Heidi filmed me telling some physio’s about it. It is dodgy film, but it saves me saying it again.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ie5JcKOKd5E