Pain felt in the body is not a “thing” however, many therapeutic modalities have conceptualized pain as something in the body like a kidney or a patella. Pain is not a somatic entity. This erroneous belief leads the therapist to try and attack this “thing” called pain with “tools,” forgetting that it is an experience.
The “toolbox” approach to pain management does not provide optimal treatment and typically relies on non-plausible and non-scientific therapeutic modalities. A “toolbox” approach to pain concerns the clinician, not the human being living with pain.
Passive tool-based treatments are typically done with the wrong patient narrative (“fixing” the body), and the wrong mindset (operator not interactor), and for the wrong reason (practitioner-centered and not patient-centered), and typically only supported by an outdated model (biomechanical), dubious clinical anecdotes and traditionalist beliefs.
This operator mindset implies that the patient is viewed as a passive recipient in the therapeutic encounter, like a puppet on a string. The therapists do not consider themselves “interactors ” who interact with another human being. An intervention should be something you do together with a patient, not something you do “to” a patient, like most “passive” modalities. This is being an “operator,” not an “interactor” like a modern therapist should be; we work with living, thinking people (Jacobs et al. 2011).
Jacobs DF, Silvernail JL. Therapist as operator or interactor? Moving beyond the technique. J Man Manip Ther. 2011 May;19(2):120-1.