Cryptic crosswords great for solving pain puzzles

6 December 2021

Cryptic crosswords are one of my favourite pastimes. I enjoy having to think “outside the square” to solve the puzzles.

In my opinion, thinking “outside the square” is or should be a vital skill for any competent remedial massage or other hands-on physical bodywork therapist.

In a previous article I spoke about the difference between “remediation” and “rehabilitation.” If any therapist wants to provide a “remedy” for their clients’ pain issues (the main role of remedial massage), they need to consider a range of factors, not just focus treatment on the problem areas.

Just to warm you up for this article, see if you can guess the answers to these simple cryptic crossword clues. Clue 1: “Prisoner posted approval.” (7 letters). Clue 2: “Goliath anti short corridors in name only (5, 4 letters).

There are various techniques to solve cryptic crossword clues. Sometimes you need to look at the clue from several different perspectives to find the right technique.

That’s like needing to look at the clues (symptoms) you’re given by your client, from various perspectives. There could be a range of factors – many of them not obvious – that might be causing or contributing to their common pain, like lower back pain, or neck and shoulder pain and headaches.

In other articles on my website, I’ve mentioned numerous examples of these, including one where if you have bent toes or other signs of feet misalignment, it can be a significant clue as to a possible reason for your headaches or migraines.

(See if your physical therapist can explain why. If they can’t, maybe you’re going to the wrong therapist!)

Sometimes in a cryptic clue, the answer can be as simple as an anagram of two words joined together. But what if the clue has 10 or more words? Which words do you join to create the anagram?

Choosing the correct words is like a remedial massage therapist applying his/her knowledge, skills and experience in knowing where to look and what aspects to consider, particularly when they don’t have x-rays or other imaging and medical reports to rely on.

Neck and shoulder pain and headaches are often blamed on a person’s occupation. In many cases that can be a significant factor. But what if there are underlying issues and the occupational aspects are merely aggravating factors?

By thinking “outside the square” and looking at a bigger picture, a competent remedial massage therapist can remove or reduce the aggravating factors so that regular or recurring pain or headaches are greatly relieved or disappear, sometimes in just one session.

Synonyms, or parts of, are also widely used in cryptic clues. In a remedial massage context, many pain symptoms can be similar (eg lower back pain). But there could be a myriad of causes, including some that may seem unlikely (eg tightness in Pec/chest muscles).

So, it’s often necessary to “think outside the square” to identify and treat the range of potential contributing factors.

Some cryptic clues require general knowledge and some are much more difficult than others. Compare that to a competent remedial massage therapist using their knowledge of anatomy and physiology to sift through extensive medical history, lifestyle, occupation, injury and other factors to come up with the correct answers to create a remedy.

There are rare times when it seems impossible to solve a clue (unless you check the answer; then it becomes obvious!). That’s a bit like a client problem being beyond the scope of the therapist who may need to refer the client, eg to a medical practitioner for scans.

But back to the cryptic crossword clues. Clue 1: The answer is: “consent.” Prisoner = con (convict). Posted = sent.  Approval = consent. Clue 2: The answer is “David Hall.” Goliath anti (against) = David. Short corridors = hallways = hall. In name only = name. David Hall.

There’s always a great deal of satisfaction in solving a cryptic crossword in a relatively short time. I also get a lot of satisfaction from being able to help many clients that other physical therapists have been unable to.

If any of the above has sparked your interest, check out some of the other articles on my website to see how I look “outside the square” with virtually every client pain issue I’m presented with. You’ll see why I can guarantee you the best value for money remedial massage in Townsville.

David Hall ©


Townsville massage therapist based in Mount Louisa and specialising in Remedial Massage for headaches and migraines, all types of muscle and/or joint aches and pains and preparation for and recovery from sporting, exercise and other fitness activities including the range of Defence fitness tests. I guarantee the best value for money remedial massage in Townsville. CALL NOW on (07) 4774 6973 and/or CALL/TEXT 0438 774 819 to book an appointment.