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Why you need to believe you can get better

Whether you believe you can or cannot, you’re probably right. - Henry Ford.

This relates to healing as much as it relates to anything.


If we believe we are damaged beyond repair, that belief prevents us from recovering. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.


But in many cases we CAN recover, even if that recovery means regaining some function but still having some pain. Personally, I know this because I recovered from a hip labral cartilage tear that I thought was impossible because I’d bought into the notion ‘cartilage doesn’t heal’ until one of my osteopathy teachers told me that it could get better. Hearing that gave me surprise hope, and (I believe) helped give me the belief I needed to start healing.


I've also recovered from the pain of a knee meniscus tear which hasn't structurally healed (I still hear it clicking in certain movements) but the pain has gone and I am able to function and do all the things I love to do. So sometimes we can't heal the STRUCTURE but we can alter our brain's pain response, and change how we perceive the problem such that it doesn't consume and interfere with our lives.


I’ve worked with people who have severe spinal disc degeneration - which doesn’t regenerate - who no longer have pain. And we’ve all heard of people who were told they’d never walk again who are now doing amazing things. Obviously this isn’t everyone, but it shows that it’s at least POSSIBLE.


Part of this is due to what we now know about pain - that it is not always a sign of damage. We know this because of the vast numbers of people who have no pain but show some sort of tissue pathology on MRI - rotator cuff tears, most spinal pathologies, including disc herniations,


Believing you can get better, get rich or make the jump is an important starting point. That’s the premise of placebo, after all.


Or if you don’t believe, having someone who does can give you the encouragement you need to achieve your aim (which is why there are double blinded clinical trials where the doctors administering the drugs don’t know which drug they’re giving a patient, because the belief of the doctor can influence patient outcomes).

And more important than belief is having a strong enough reason WHY you want to achieve something will give you even more incentive to put in the effort. So… why do you want to get better? What will it enable to you to do, be or have?

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