The myth of the back pain whisperer
Some musings excerpted from a recent update to my low back pain book, focusing on good and bad reasons for seeking professional help for chronic back pain …
“Maybe,” I would reply. “Then again, I might also just be charming and a good businessman. You really have no way of knowing.”
I like to get people thinking.
The idea of the exceptional clinician, the “pain whisperer,” is mostly a pernicious myth. The superpowers of the truly knowledgeable and talented will mostly disappoint the desperate: restraint, humility, good communication, and doing no harm with bogus diagnoses and treatments.
Back pain is much too multifactorial and mysterious for any clinician to have consistently superior results. To the extent that they do, it is almost certainly because of charisma, empathy, and the ability to reassure … not their methods or savvy.