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Psychological Damage…

Deciding as to when and where psychological harm has or has not been caused is certainly a challenge. It seems to me that English Culture is progressing, recognising at Common Law, new concepts over what causes pain, from physical injury to harming the psyche. The boundary of what constitutes psychological harm is one of importance in a society where common mental health conditions are exactly that – common.

Robert Fulghum quote: If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your...
I disagree that harm must be seen on medical imaging making it visible to others…

When clinically assessing muscle and joint conditions, psychological factors affect a person’s pain experience. Clinically noted by way of different coloured flags. Positive psycho-social factors are pink and negative perpetuating psycho-social factors are yellow (1) and blue and black flags relate to conditions at work (2). Even further than a need to clinically assess muscle and joint pain to include psycho-social factors English Common Law has recently established what psychiatric harm is.

In English and Welsh Law the legal Test of harm to the psyche is in 3 parts (love, proximity and condition) from the view of a primary or a secondary victim (3). From this legal Test of psychiatric harm it may not be a big step for one to imagine the embodiment of a broken heart (loss).

A civil society that allows an individual to make their own decisions (autonomous beings) must recognise that an embodiment of pain is possible and real. A long history of embodied pain can be found in the English language. For example; when a person is imposed upon by another’s free choice they could be said to have been inconvenienced. In ‘Old French’ lack of convenience is synonymous with disease (4). In Latin roots having ‘no elbow room to move’ was called dis-ease (5). The fluid movement of the human body has long been linked to health status which is why movement and health have evolved together in language and chiropractic practise. Language is a way of communicating experience and thus a psychological perspective of individual freedom to move (in every sense) can become manifest as an embodied experience viewed by others, perhaps, as poor posture or movement stiffness .

Having poor posture and feeling as though your muscles are tight may be something you notice after stiffness and before having sore joints or referred pain without a precipitating event or obvious cause. Chiropractic Care could help against the accumulated effect of dis-ease; the inconvenient joint stiffness and muscular imbalances that exist today in your body, especially when combined with psycho-therapeutic interventions. Sometimes one needs to retreat and take stock with the right professionals who view your health as experiential to kick start you into moving you forward to dissipate experiences of damage.


  1. Nicholas MK et al ‘Decade of the Flags Working Group’ (2011). ‘Early Identification and Management of Psychological Risk Factors (Yellow Flags) in Patients with Low Back Pain: A Reappraisal’. Physical Therapy 91 737-753.
  2. Carnes D and Fawkes C (2012) ‘What is The Relevance of Coloured Flags To Osteopathic Practice’. The Osteopath Magasine Oct/Nov 2012 p.20-22
  3. Zeromska-Smith [2019] EWHC 552
  4. Disease definition from Google
  5. Boyd K (2000). ‘Disease, Illness, Sickness, Health, Healing and Wholeness: Exploring Some Elusive Concepts’. Medical Humanities 26 9 -17

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