Why We Named the Company Override

Jennie Shulkin, Override Co-Founder

When my father and I started the company, we originally called it “Global Pain Center.” A few months into developing the company, issues with the name became apparent. Some people complained about the word “global,” since our company was targeting the US market. Others complained about the word “center,” because that made it sound like an in-person or brick & mortar facility. By far the biggest complaint was about the word “pain.” 

“You need to get people to be thinking about relief, not pain,” they said. 

“Pain is such a negative word,” others echoed. 

“It doesn’t sound ‘techy,’” we also heard. 

With enough people criticizing the name “Global Pain Center,” we decided to rebrand. 

For those of you who think this would be easy, it’s not. When you think of a good company name, first Google it and you’ll realize it’s probably already taken by another healthcare company. Or maybe the name is available, but the URL is not – and buying the URL might cost hundred thousand dollars. “Amazon” is a great name but it turns out that Amazon.com is already taken. 

So we hired a consultant to help us rename the company. The process was intense: several hours of live meetings and even more hours of homework, answering silly questions like “if your company was an animal, which animal would it be?” and “what would be the theme song for your company?” This was supposed to add color for the naming consultant and help them understand our process. Finally, the “namer” came back with around 100 possible names and everyone on our team agreed – none of them were right for us.

Then we took matters into our own hands. We started from the advice we have received to evoke the opposite of pain. We played with deviations of words like soothe, calm, relax, relief, ease, and peace. With all of these possibilities, I pictured someone resting on a lawn chair in a meadow in beautiful (but not too bright) sunlight, with a quiet stream on one side. Paz Health (“paz” meaning “peace” in Spanish and Portuguese) was a serious contender for our new name. 

Free Green Grass Field during Sun Rise Stock Photo

But the more I thought about my own chronic pain, the less I felt peaceful about it. Most days, I felt like I was at war with my chronic pain. The only reason I am still here is because I’m a competitor and a fighter. I’ve taken my pain to battle. I haven’t rolled over and played dead. So after weeks of racking our brains for names, I started to consider more assertive, aggressive names. 

We also wanted pain science to have an influence on the name. I started thinking about the process of how chronic pain gets ingrained in the central nervous system and the brain, and what it takes to override those pain neural pathways. And there it was: Override

See, when you exist in a sustained period of chronic pain, your brain changes. Just like your brain can learn to play the piano or play an instrument with enough repetition, the brain learns to get really good at creating pain with enough repetition. Entrenched pain neural pathways are very difficult to break. They have to be overridden.

We took the name Override out to a large group of people. Some loved it, others did not. Some complained that it was too aggressive and not calming. I agreed and felt fine about that. We are not a medical device that promises to take the pain away after 10 minutes of use. Our company is teaching people how to take control of their chronic pain, not sit back and let pain control them.

Others complained that Override was too “techy.” It made them think of overriding an error in a computer. We agreed and we liked that. The brain is kind of like a computer – the most advanced computer there is. The pain signals sent by a chronic pain brain are error signals; they are no longer doing the important function of warning of danger and helping with survival. They are on autopilot and need to be overridden by more helpful neural pathways. Our entire team-based approach is designed to help individuals override the error signals that keep chronic pain on automatic.

Free stock photo of bitcoin, business, coin Stock Photo

In the end, we got rid of the word “pain” from our name, but we did not choose a name evoking peacefulness and relaxation. Overriding pain is hard work and takes active participation. Our patients should know that. 

If that sounds scary, our patients should also know that they are not alone with Override. Our care teams are by our patients’ sides every step of the way. Our entire program – ranging from our hand-picked physicians, physical therapists, psychologists, and coaches to our pain neuroscience curriculum and peer support – is designed to help our patients override chronic pain. 

Let’s get to work. 

Posted on 
January 10, 2023

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