An Introduction to Treating Persistent Pain
It is often difficult to understand and explain high and prolonged levels of pain where a traditional tissue-based cause is lacking.
Have you ever stopped to consider how your communication differs when you are speaking with a patient versus a friend or family member who has confided in you with a problem?
Consider the two images below:
Despite the importance of validation as a means of explicitly communicating that we understand the legitimacy of other people’s thoughts and concerns, the evidence points towards a worrying lack of validation in healthcare consultations (Edmond and Keefe, 2015).
This poses an interesting dilemma when we consider the contrast between how we might naturally display empathy and validation when communicating with a friend or family member who is in distress, and how we might withhold this same innate human response when communicating with people in pain.
When listening to a friend’s distress it would be quite typical for many of us to say, “I’m so sorry to hear that. That sounds really hard. No wonder you’re upset. How have you been coping?”
Yet, despite this natural capacity to display empathy and validation, many clinicians may either avoid or forget to validate the experience by moving quickly onto the next question in their subjective examination format, or possibly even respond to the patient’s distress by asking them to rate their experience on a numerical scale between 0-10 (Padfield et al, 2010).
Edmond and Keefe (2015) suggest that many healthcare professionals are hesitant to display their empathy and validation skills because of a general concern that this will help reinforce the patient’s unhelpful pain behaviors. However, the evidence does not support this belief with indications that validation results in a reduction in pain, a decrease in worry, and fewer pain behaviors (Edlund et al, 2017, Linton et al, 2012). Furthermore, as Mantel’s quotation alludes to, empathetic validation can also lead to an increase in trust and a stronger therapeutic alliance.
On October 7th, Mike Stewart (KnowPain Mike) will join us for a free 45-minute webinar to introduce the A Practical Guide for Persistent Pain Therapy. The structure of this webinar is as follows:
- 30-minute presentation by Mike Stewart
- 15-minute Q&A from the audience
This webinar is intended to introduce the topics taught on Mike Stewart's live 2-day course.
Register below! Note: you must be signed into Embodia in order to register. There are 500 seats only and it is first-come, first-serve. The webinar will be recorded and made available for free for Embodia Members.
MCSP, SRP, MSC, PG CERT
Mike Stewart is a physiotherapist and visiting university lecturer with twenty years of experience managing complex, persistent pain conditions. In addition, he is a dedicated practice-based educator committed to providing evidence-based education to a wide variety of health professionals. His Know Pain workshops have provided clinicians around the world with practical pain education skills.
He has an MSc in Physiotherapy and Practice-based Education from the University of Brighton, and is planning a PhD focusing on pain and communication. His published work has received international praise from the leading names in neuroscience.