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The Water Cup Analogy For Pain

The water cup analogy of pain is one of the analogies I use with patients to give them a better understanding of why we experience pain. This theory recognises that pain is more than just tissue damage, and that other stressors such as anxiety, stress, fear, poor sleep, etc. can all have an affect on our pain experience 📚 ⁣ ⁣


We all deal with our own personal stressors. Imagine putting all of your stressors in a cup of water, as shown above. The more stressors you add to the cup, the higher the water level becomes. When the water overflows this is when we experience pain. Therefore, our goal is to try and keep the water from overflowing 💧 ⁣ ⁣


So how can we as health care professionals help with this? There are 2 main ways: By reducing the number of stressors in your cup and/or increasing the size of your cup. Examples of how to help with this include advice/reassurance, building positive beliefs, improving moods, etc. alongside exercise rehabilitation & manual treatments ✅ ⁣ ⁣ ➭ This analogy demonstrates the importance of the Biopsychosocial approach and helps patients understand which factors in their lives are contributing to their pain 🗣 #physiotherapy #physio #pain #Biopsychosocial

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