You’re Beliefs about Pain: Category 1

Understanding Pain requires learning new concepts. We need to undo any inaccurate beliefs about the pain, you hold. This may put you in conflict with your pre-existing (less accurate) knowledge and you might want fight against accepting new (hopefully more accurate) information.

It is common for people with chronic or persistent pain to have faulty ideas about how the body works and what is causing the symptoms. As research improves we are learning more about pain and how many of our old ideas were wrong.

How strongly you hold to your beliefs determines how challenging your ideas will be to change.


  1. Pain means something is injured
  2. My injury has not healed


  1. Injury to tissue has healed
  2. Most tissues heal in a few days, six weeks or three months
  3. It is your memory of pain that remains along with an over sensitisation of the nerves carrying the messages to your brain
  4. The way you protected your pain site has lasted longer than it needed to and is now maladaptive
  5. Your fear of reinjure prevents you being active
  6. Some muscles weaken while others tighten, your joints stiffen through disuse.
  7. Your ability to control your movement fades
  8. Your tolerance of exercise reduces


  1. X-rays and scans show damage
  2. It's old age or my back is out
  3. If age was a pathology both your knees would be equally painful!


  1. Yes scans show changes but much of this is normal age related and may have been there for years
  2. It may not be why you have pain
  3. Back don't "go out anywhere. They simply forget how to move efficiently.

 My approach is to help you learn about pain and understand how you can change how you think and how you move, my goal is to help you regain an enjoyable life.

Other thought viruses you may recognises:

  • "I have pain, therefore, I am damaged",
  • "It’s not safe for me to move, bend or exercise while my back hurts."  
  • "Every time I move I can feel it grinding, it cracks if I stretch, once you’ve hurt your back it’s never the same again, my x-ray shows severe degeneration, I was told I have an up-slipped pelvis"
  • Something you read on Google about a miracle cure

My aim is to challenge these misconceptions by replacing your myths with facts bit. This takes skill, knowledge and time. 

More emotional thoughts hinder recovery too. We base our beliefs on culture, religion or long-term exposure to pain . I softly dig away to replace faulty beliefs with facts.

  • My suffering is God’s will"
  • "It’s a massive disc herniation - four surgeons have told me that if I don’t have surgery I will end up in a wheelchair - even I can see it on the MRI"
  • "Nobody can help me"

My aim during a consultation is to listening carefully, question you further, and develop a strong therapeutic relationship to maximise the benefit for you.

This information is adapted from Dr David Butler Explain Pain, by Helen Potter FACP 2019

Please contact Helen to discuss any aspects of pain and how I can help.

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