Bronnie Lennox Thompson on the role of emotions in treating pain:
We should, at all costs, avoid eliciting fear and worry, or anger in the people we treat — because this increases pain intensity.
Also it’s just nicer. 😉 But yeah, dear clinicians: if you scare pain patients, that is the opposite of helping. And fear can be quite subtle. For instance, you can “scare” people just by implying that their spines are vulnerable to trivial stresses (like, oh, say, backpacks… to pick an example that’s in the headlines right now).
Much less widely appreciated is that pissing patients off will also do harm, and that is also usually subtle. Most people will never show any clear sign that they are getting their back up during a clinical encounter. They’ll just bitch about the appointment later! Many patients are disgruntled with their care, but few actually tell the professional who frustrated them.