Seeking Order Amidst the Chaos: The Role of Metaphor Within Pain Reconceptualisation

  • Mike StewartEmail author


Communication is a fundamental component of rehabilitation. Without it, it does not matter what we know. The profoundly complex and idiosyncratic nature of pain experiences often requires the use of metaphoric expressions. Metaphors enable us to link the abstract to what is already known. We use metaphors when conveying experiences that are most resistant to expression. Pain is one such experience. In order to make sense of the distress and confusion that pain often brings, many people turn to metaphors. Healthcare professionals (HCPs) use metaphors to transfer abstract scientific knowledge into meaningful cognitions. However, whilst some metaphors are explicit in their execution, many remain characteristically concealed and many HCPs remain unaware of both the power of language and how best to use metaphors within clinical practice. Through exploring the implicit nature of metaphors clinicians, researchers and people in pain may develop strategies to bridge the communication divide and begin to make sense of their experiences.


Pain Experience Persistent Pain Psychological Flexibility Metaphoric Expression Song Lyric 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Health and Social Science, School of Health SciencesUniversity of BrightonEastbourneUK

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