In the children’s book, ‘Who Sank the Boat’ by Pamela Allen, the mouse is blamed for sinking the boat. The mouse made the smallest impact but it was the final straw.

Consider the following example:

A school teacher in her first year out of university was teaching at a public school in a low socioeconomic area. She had multiple children in her class who required extra attention and she wasn’t receiving enough additional support. She was going through a break up with her boyfriend of a few years and her Mother was in hospital recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer, treatable but still scary. She hadn’t been sleeping well and with the recent cold weather hadn’t been able to get outside for her usual walk/run after school. Then at the end of a long day at school she bent to pick up her handbag and felt her back go.

The bending to pick up the bag was the mouse that sunk the boat and received all the blame. If you look at that movement on its own it’s scary that such a small thing could hurt her back. You could understand why she might then think her back is weak and needs protecting. She might avoid picking things up off the floor and even change the way she gets out of a chair.


Look at the big picture. It wasn’t the bending over that hurt her back,  that was just the final straw. The real problem was the huge amount of stress, fatigue and emotional pressure she was under. Her back wasn’t vulnerable and she didn’t have to be afraid of moving. Instead she had to try and find ways to ease the pressure.

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