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Communications Breakdown: “What’s your PRESENT Pain?”

We consistently notice “languaging” difficulties related to the way people communicate. There are tricks, traps, and differences in “the way we speak about things”. For example, we often ask people “Do you have pain right now?” and they say “no”. we see them grimace as they rise to their feet, and we say, “hey what was that?”. They say, “Well when you asked me, I was sitting, but now I am standing…” The reality is that the complaint question should be more than just an instantaneous picture….it needs to be a REAL ESTIMATE of how you are over the course of a day. “I don’t have any pain (unless I take a deep breath)” for example, is not a pain-free existence! Please, take a moment, and make sure you QUALIFY the things you say to us, since shortcuts and quick answers can delay getting you the appropriate care you need.

While we are talking about it, “pain” may not be your word. You may want to say “discomfort”, “soreness”, “stiffness” or some other word that doesn’t sound like pain. An important concept is that this is all “pain”. We have more sophisticated ways of understanding pain now, and “pain” is not limited to that sensation that sends you to the hospital. And at the same time, some doctors are not going to listen to you if you don’t say the “P” word. It comes down to communication. Don’t be afraid to call it pain, because we are going to help you qualify it. Let’s talk about it at your next session. Schedule here.

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