I recently attended a 2 day pain course (virtually); which was excellent and extremely interesting.One of the attendee’s coined the phrase ‘a spiders web of complexity’ when talking about pain. I think this is a really apt description and is something I have observed for years; think about what happens when something lands on a spiders web, it could be a twig, a raindrop or an insect, the whole web trembles. If something large lands the web may rip or tear.
We are very used to looking for structural reasons for pain and of course they are part of the picture, but so are many other things. For example if you are not sleeping well your pain tolerance will be less. If you are diabetic and a bit out of balance your whole metabolism will not work so smoothly, this will impact pain and recovery mechanisms. If your parents had certain problems that you witnessed growing up or if you had a bad accident in the past it will affect how you are now. Everything shapes us and has brought us to the place we currently find ourselves.
What affects us may not affect someone else in the same way. It also depends on our wiring some people (elite athletes possibly) respond very positively to pain and difficulty, it improves their cognition and function. They do well under pressure, it’s a concept called Saliency. For the rest of us our ability to function both physically and cognitively is impaired when we are under stress or in pain.
If we are overwhelmed with problems that is when our web can tear or break, we may get ill or have a breakdown of some type, everything affects everything else.
This is both the difficulty and beauty of being human, each web is unique and beautiful, shaped by our experiences and the choices we make. Every difficulty and positive experience we have opens us up to a new perspective and choice.
Which is why it is difficult to find a generic solution to a problem, there will be common features but we are unique. This is what makes my work endlessly interesting and absorbing, seeing the web, what is important, what has happened to bring you to this point, how can we work towards a comfortable solution and open up new possibilities.
Does that make me the mother of all spiders?