noigroup logo

The volcano god of pain

By David Butler Metaphor and language, Physio world, Education for all 17 Jan 2014

There is a lot of crap on the net, particularly around the topic of pain. We are always looking for good reads for patients. We think this is a good one as it covers one of the most common complaints – “they said surgery would fix my back but its worse than ever”. The article focusses on a back pain boot camp run by Dr James Rainville. It is clear that the camp also includes a lot of education linked with fear reduction. The article also contains one of the best explanatory metaphors I have ever heard. Rainville said to a patient with chronic pain- “you are worshipping the volcano god of pain” . Read Rainville’s explanation here – I am borrowing the metaphor for sure.

– David Butler


  1. timcocks0noi

    I love the worshipping at the volcano god of pain metaphor, but it got me thinking; what happens if you extend this metaphor a bit further? I reckon you’re going to need a bit of a backup when a patients says “Well ok, yes, i get it…… but sometimes volcanoes erupt and wipe out entire towns – ever heard of Pompeii”

    Metaphors can be double edges swords (ahem…)

  2. Hahahaha…”sometimes volcanoes erupt and wipe out entire times”. This is very true. I have spent the last year dealing with chronic pain. I have learned that…The volcano may erupt, on its own accord. However, I’m still in control of my response to the eruption (s). My negative thoughts, feelings and actions only feed the fire. Any sign of fear or submission, only gives the volcano more life. One becomes its subservient. It loves to test one’s faith. It is a big bully! It loves absolute domination. Absolute power. The less i am able to give in to the temptation (worshipping), the stronger my resolve. I am trying to lay the ground work, so that when the volcano erupts (oh it will!), I am able to draw on the experiences of not succumbing to the dictator (pain). I remember how difficult it is to crawl out from the pit of the volcano. Fighting a bully is no easy feat. It has taken me almost an entire year, to be able to stand up to it.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Product was added to cart.