Mar 21, 2019 | pain management

Change the Narrative for Improved Outcomes

Words Matter in Pain Care

Clinicians have a responsibility to educate and reassure patients who live with pain so they can overcome barriers, such as fear of movement, and re-engage in healthy behaviors. Despite the progressive embrace of a biopsychosocial framework in pain care, most patients conceptualize their persisting pain symptoms as an isolated biomechanical/structural problem. Words such as degeneration, wear and tear, unstable, and impingement have an emotive impact, and can negatively affect a patient’s self-efficacy, which sabotages individual functional outcomes. Clinicians have a significant influence over the beliefs of their patients, and words used in clinical interactions can deeply shape health beliefs. This course will provide arguments in favor of using words that promote health, resilience, and adaptability rather than descriptors consistent with destruction and injury. Research to support an alternate approach when discussing pain with patients will be presented, and practical alternative narratives will be offered. (Recorded at PAINWeek 2018)

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