Aug 07, 2019 | pain terminology

The Power of Words: Your Patients are Listening

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.