The Cup Theory

One of the most common stories we hear in our Newport physiotherapy clinic when a patient is discussing their pain/issue is “I have no idea when it started/what caused it.” This is understandable because we are complex beings! There are a range different factors that play into our ability to function and move- even after thousands of years of research and experience we still don’t know the full picture. So how can you get on top of what caused your injury and have a bit of control to stop it from happening again? 

Some help answering this question can be derived from the cup theory. The theory suggests that our bodies’ function and capacity is like a cup. It has a set volume and when it is exceeded then we MAY experience pain or discomfort. EVERYTHING about our life factors into what is going into that cup. For example if you only get 4 hours of sleep then some physical and mental exhaustion fills that cup. If you are mentally stressed out about finances or you have some big expenses coming up it could fill up that cup. Going through a break up or a rough patch with your significant other? That cup may be filling up.You just completed a marathon? That cup is filling up! Fear of repeating a prior injury or knowledge of someone suffering by doing a certain thing? Cup is filling up! As you can see our pain story is very multifactorial and can be affected by several aspects of our life. 

The good news is that being aware of what is going on means that you can alter what is filling your cup. The other thing to be aware of is that physical activity has an added benefit! If you’re training at appropriate loads and use rest times you can build up the walls of your cup, meaning you can have an increased capacity to “life”! So if you are in some physical pain, spend some time reflecting on what’s going on in your life because there may be some factors you can control to manage your cup! 

At Back to Health Physiotherapy in Newport, we can also assess your pain and treat you in the best way to get you back to health quickly!