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Psychological, Ethical or Moral Pain?

Further to my blog post on what psychological harm is the Coronavirus has brought about situations where sense cannot always be made of what is going on and where one fits in. Society can be cruel to those who lose their way from moral ease. A place where one can understand and make coherent sense of what is happening around them or to them. Being in a position of moral tension (1) could be more common than first thought. COVID has brought about rapid changes and impactful decisions to be made. Because of this people could be winners or losers without control. #Confused!

Being in a position where decisions made just don’t sit right with our moral compass could place us in moral distress (2). Where we see acts or omissions that lead to us feeling frustration or anger we can start to question whether we have it wrong whilst those in power blissfully seem to overlook the ramifications of their decisions. A moral injury (3) can result. Looking out for compassion fatigue, social withdrawal or out of character decisions like a sudden change of career. We may well be able to offer support to a friend, family member or colleague during their moral distress. If left such distress could lead to an injury of the self.


Supporting each other during these trying times can be challenging however the simple things in life can be the most powerful. I see people whose bodies show the signs of such tensions of our time often experienced as an insidious re-experience of an already experienced muscle and joint pain. Particularly when the original pain experience was caused by a nonsensical occurrence, such as an unexplained health problem.  In others I see the crescendo effect (4) where experiences of a previously felt pain are more intense.

If during lockdown 2.0 you are recognising a backward move in your muscle and joint health consulting with a psychosocially aware chiropractor could be just what you need to help you organise your thoughts, make sense of what is happening and have your body adjusted from your current usual to a more normative condition. Carrying on might cement in your brain your current ‘usual’ body condition, like an update to an operating system. Leaving you feeling older than you are!



  1. Morley G, 2018: https://research-information.bristol.ac.uk/en/theses/what-is-moral-distress-in-nursing-and-how-should-we-respond-to-it(08e7e5ca-14f6-
  2. Morley G et al., 2019. What is ‘moral distress’ in nursing? A feminist empirical bioethics study. Nursing Ethics. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/
  3. Litz BT, Stein N, Delaney E, et al.: Moral injury and moral repair in war veterans: a preliminary model and intervention strategy. Clin Psychol Rev 2009;
  4. Epstein, 2009 Moral Distress, Moral Residue, and the Crescendo Effect. J Clin Ethics. 2009 20(4): 330–342

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