The sound of pain

Ooooyahh“…  That’s my sound for low back pain.   With a strong emphasis on the opening “ooo” and a croaky “ahh”.  Try it – does it work for you?  I think it’s my sound for other pains too.

Pain is an emotional experience isn’t it?  So our expressions of pain tend to be couched in pretty emotional terms – like “stabbing, burning, sickening”.  I wonder what our sounds for pain tell us about our pains…  I suppose a short grunt probably means the pain was momentary and has passed, whereas a long scream suggests it’s ongoing at a very high level (think final stages of labour, or passing a big kidney stone).

But the sounds that involuntarily escape us when we experience pain don’t really serve any purpose do they – apart from amusing others?  Or do they?  What if those involuntary sounds are programmed into us in order that we receive attention from those around us?  What if the sounds of pain are there to warn our tribe that there’s danger afoot and that if they hang about they might also be stung by bees, shot with arrows, skewered and roasted over an open fire?  So, though the sounds may not serve us in any way, perhaps they serve the tribe.  And if that’s true, does stifling the sounds deny the tribe the opportunity to learn?  And avoid the same fate as us.

Mind you, I’m talking about involuntary sounds – not spoken complaints of pain.  Those are different.

This is just my pet theory (although I’m sure more profound philosophers have reached and surpassed this conclusion).

What do you think of “ooooyahh”?  Try it.  Does it work for you?  Or do you favour a different sound.  Please share in the comments below, or email me directly if you’re shy.  Let’s find out what the most popular sound for pain is (more than one suggestion allowed, but let loose – more creative than “ow” please!).


By | 2017-03-03T09:54:11+00:00 October 15th, 2015|Diagnosing Low Back Pain|0 Comments

About the Author:

Clinic Director and Osteopath. Gavin graduated as a Gold Medallist in 1991 and is now a Vice Patron of the British School of Osteopathy. Co-author of “The Back Book” with Gavin Hastings OBE in 1996, and author of "active X backs - and effective solution for lower back pain"; he has an MSc in The Clinical Management of Pain from the University of Edinburgh. He's passionate about helping to move people as far from illness and pain as possible, and in January 2015 set himself the target of helping a million people get a better back.

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