Taming The Fear; a dentists tale….
As my campaign to stave off a mid life crisis gathers pace, I set a goal of running a 10K as fast as I did 20 years ago. A few months in and my enthusiasm for training resulted in my left knee suddenly swelling to something approximating double its normal size overnight. I could barely walk, was in severe pain, and was generally miserable. ( It was even alleged that I had “man flu of the knee” by some of my less sympathetic friends! )
This sudden and unexpected problem made me really quite miserable and to be honest I found the voyage into the unknown world of knee pain quite stressful too.
What happened next is the interesting bit, I had a couple of visits with the lovely team at Physis in Edinburgh where
- They listened in detail to what was wrong with me,
- Listened to what it was that was worrying me about my injury
- And then took time to explain what was actually happening ( as opposed to what I thought was happening)
- Finally when I understood the real nature of the problem we got down to fixing it
Interestingly though I felt much better as soon as I knew the facts of the situation.
The thing that struck me were the similarities of what I experienced with someone who suffers from dental fear. I had an internal dialogue ongoing throughout the whole episode. I had a FEAR that something was seriously wrong with me and a fear of something bad happening in the future. My wife insists that being a man ( and thus unable to tolerate pain or physical discomfort) made me contemplate the possibility that
- my knee was permanently damaged and would never function again properly,
- my cartilage was ruptured/ torn /displaced,
- my ligaments had torn / broken or otherwise failed
- the next time I run this will happen again
Of course all of these thoughts were based on no facts just my observations of the situation as well as my fear of the UNKNOWN. The truth is I felt bad, and in the absence of an appropriately trained person to help me, my though process ran riot and created a host of unpleasant futures for me and my knee ( which is now by the way is healing very nicely thank you )
So what can we learn from this?
Being afraid / stressed is a natural part of any problem that relates to our health
Given the chance our subconscious will run riot with a host of grim scenarios
The problem may take some effort on our part but can be easier to resolve than we realised
With professional help and understanding the road to recovery can start much faster than you think
I know for one that I am hugely grateful for the time that was spent with me allaying my fears and allowing me to achive the right frame of mind to get better.
Now after all this I still don’t know a huge amount about knees, so if that is where your trouble lies please seek out a good physiotherapist! Equally when it comes to dental fear why not take the most difficult step which is always the first one. The step can be small and need not even involve speaking to a dentist if you don’t want to, it can be as simple as watching a video, reading the experiences of other nervous patients, or by taking the 7 day beat your fear course
Equally why not get in touch with someone who can help you to tame your dental fear. You can begin by, contacting a sympathetic dentist by telephone, or just dropping us an e-mail at the practice. Whether you stay locally or not we’d love to hear from you.