Detailed, evidence-based help for common painful problems

Scaring and irritating pain patients is bad

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Bronnie Lennox Thompson on the role of emotions in treating pain:

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.

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