I’ve come back from physician visits without a clear idea of what my physician thinks. I think I’ve found a problem, and I believe it’s communication.
The push to be patient-centered and take all patient preferences in to account has morphed in to a wishy-washy communication style which boils down to the clinician saying “Well, whatever works for you. What do you want to do?” This, in turn leads to conversations at home with spouses and friends of “I don’t know, I wanted my doctor’s professional opinion and they told me I could do what I want. They gave me options but not direction”
When people ask “why does it hurt?” I’ll get around to stating that “… also, context of [your pain] is a factor in how it feels.”
Now this may make sense to you, the PTBT audience, but this is often not an idea that people have thought of. Most people only remember a politician saying his/her words were “taken out of context” so it may be important to explain context.
Here are two quick context stories I tell. Please use them, please make them your own…
1.) Context example… “So now let’s say you are walking in a spooky forest, it’s dark out, you’re by yourself, a bit creeped out and you feel this on your shoulder (lightly tickle the skin), what would your reaction be?” Often a patient will exaggerate looking back quickly or state “I would jump, think it was a spider or something”, etc. Continue reading
Allow me to make the case to discuss modern* pain science views with all who will listen, importantly, people who are NOT in pain.
There seems to be support for pre-operative pain education as an effective intervention. Studies have shown improved surgical experience and reduced health care utilization (1), improved short term pain reporting, quicker return to activities and utilization of nonpharmalogical pain management strategies (2). Long term pain outcomes are not significantly effected (that I could find), but it certainly helps the patient in meaningful way (3). Continue reading
Communication is complex, rich, diverse and ever important when attempting to portray your ideas, or persuade those around you. As it turns out, certain phrasing can lend an air of credibility to your words.
In the fantastically named paper Birds of a feather flock conjointly(?): Rhyme as Reason in Aphorisms, McGlone and Tofighbakhsh (2000) illustrate the power of structure in extracting meaning and truth from phrasing. Continue reading