The importance of language continually arises in rehabilitation circles. Various paradigms exist that attempt to explain why people hurt and how said people can improve their function. In rehabilitation, there is often a false dichotomy between biomechanical and psychosocial models. These constructs are distinguished to make information more digestible and facilitate learning in the abstract but cannot be differentiated in practice. The bio is the psychosocial and vice versa. Perhaps the term “biopsychosocial” is just a rhetorical response to reductionist, incomplete, and erroneous preexisting models.
In rehabilitation, the pendulum seems to be shifting more towards the psychosocial end as research continues to elucidate the unsatisfying relationship between structure, mechanics, and pain, for example. Non-mechanical explanations about pain and physical output, however, aren’t necessarily better understood than mechanical ones. We just do happen to know now that mechanical explanations aren’t the whole story or often even the lead actor.