“Pain is a liar”

Written by integrativetherapeutics on . Posted in The Body Mechanic, by Todd A. Forman, PT

The first time I heard that was from my mentor (I’ll call her “Ann” here to protect the innocent).  I was a new physical therapist, just about 2 years out of school, and I was having trouble with one of my patients with back pain.  Ann asked me what was going on, and I gave her a very detailed description of my patient’s symptoms.  Her response was a bit harsh, but well deserved:  “You didn’t tell me anything that the patient couldn’t.  You’re his physical therapist.  What is the problem?”.

In an attempt to answer her question, I gave her a more detailed description of how my client’s pain changed with different activities.  Ann cut me off after about 2 sentences (she never suffered fools well) and told me:  “If you want to do this kind of work, the first thing you are going to have to learn is that pain is a liar”.