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Nugget #67: We grow like trees

By Noigroup HQ Neuroscience Nuggets 07 Jun 2018

Nugget #67 (of 71) in Explain Pain Supercharged. Quick, simple, powerfully reassuring – you’re resilient, strong, robust, adaptable…

It goes something like this..

Nugget #67. We grow like trees

Attributed to Peter Roberts, Adelaide, 2011

From The Explain Pain Handbook: Protectometer. Noigroup Publications 2015

The common findings on scans and x-rays are usually related to age changes – the kisses of time. Left and right differences are quite normal. We grow like trees, never the same left and right, adapting to the seasons and the weather. Like trees, we too can be resilient against the irrepressible forces of nature, heal ourselves and can seek appropriate nourishment. Your body and any scans reflect your life story – not necessarily injury or pain. Google an image of Serena William’s (or any professional tennis player’s) dominant arm and you will see how different their two arms are.

Patients are naturally concerned about left/right differences in scan findings (or perhaps from what they’ve been told about their leg lengths by some practitioners). We grow like trees can help reconceptualise a person’s body image using positive, changeable imagery. Scan findings might need a deeper discussion, but this nugget can help break the ice.

-NOI Group

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  1. davidbutler0noi

    Thanks for posting this Tim. “We grow like trees” is one of my favourite and most useful similes and I must thank Peter Roberts for it.

    Conceptual mapping theorists could have a field day with it. It’s a reasonably novel simile and these are mapped a bit differently to familiar similes so that’s a bit of unique brain ‘exercise’. But it has this aesthetic beauty, familiarity, comfort and memorability about it. It allows an instant aesthetic evaluation (most people love a tree), the tree-person link is rapid – (you may not mind being compared to a majestic oak tree), the, the essential concepts are easily laid out (ie we all age, adapt, you don’t see the underpinnings) and then the many inferences (eg so its ok to be different side to side ) are allowed.


  2. davidbutler0noi

    Thanks Miriam,

    I am going to add the communication and support bit to the story.


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