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‘Gee, that’s the worst (…insert condition here…) I’ve ever seen!’

Any physio out there would tell you this kind of language is something that they hear from time to time.

Patients will often say:

‘My …….. (insert medical professional) told me it was the worst / tightest / stiffest / weakest …….. (insert body part) they have ever seen!’

Now I have never been 100% sure if that was exactly what was said, or whether it was an embellished version of what their health professional had said.

I have never grilled anyone on it – you just take it on face value.  It wouldn’t be good form to ask ‘Really? Are you telling the truth or are you bigging yourself up?’

However, it is something that you hear often enough to think that it might actually be said. And that scares me a little bit.

It isn’t too hard to understand how that kind of statement could be quite influential to someone’s thinking, particularly if they hold their health professional in high regard. 

If you have just been told you have the stiffest neck that someone has ever seen, you would take it to heart, would you? And that is likely to always be your perception of your neck from that point on.

I would even argue that if someone down the track questioned your degree of stiffness and suggested that you were actually kind of OK, and that you were moving kind of OK, that their skills of assessment might be doubted if that perception was something that you had held onto for a while.

Words matter. Language matters. We all have to remember that. Even the most flippant comments can have long term effects.

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About the author

Russell Mackenzie
Russell Mackenzie
Russell is a physiotherapist and clinic owner in Adelaide, South Australia. He received his physiotherapy degree from UniSA in 1994, and has since also become a Credentialed McKenzie Therapist. Russell is the co-owner of Adelaide West Physio + Pilates and more recently, Adelaide West Headache Clinic, which was formed after becoming a Watson Headache Certified Practitioner to show his dedication and passion for headache and migraine treatment. Russell also aims to spread the word about the role of physiotherapy and non-surgical methods of helping persistent pain, low back pain and other conditions. Learn more about Russell on our About Us page.
Russell Mackenzie

Russell Mackenzie

Russell is a physiotherapist and clinic owner in Adelaide, South Australia. He received his physiotherapy degree from UniSA in 1994, and has since also become a Credentialed McKenzie Therapist. Russell is the co-owner of Adelaide West Physio + Pilates and more recently, Adelaide West Headache Clinic, which was formed after becoming a Watson Headache Certified Practitioner to show his dedication and passion for headache and migraine treatment. Russell also aims to spread the word about the role of physiotherapy and non-surgical methods of helping persistent pain, low back pain and other conditions. Learn more about Russell on our About Us page.
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