Patient beliefs – Are you mindful in your communication?
Patient beliefs and attitude towards pain guide their behavior and can be a big part of pain resolution or chronicity. This study showed health care professionals had a considerable and enduring effect on patients' attitudes and beliefs, which work as a double-edged sword. It also sheds light upon the importance of the beliefs of the clinicians and their ability to accurately convey modern pain science.
Biomedical beliefs are unhelpful and at worst sustain or exacerbate pain. To best serve our patients, it is imperative that health care professionals become aware of their own beliefs and biases, as they potentially transcend in their clinical practice.
In this study, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 12 participants with acute low back pain and 11 participants with chronic low back pain. The aim was to explore the impact of the impact of clinicians beliefs on patients attitudes and beliefs about their pain.
Counseling patients provides the perfect opportunity to empower, reassure and positively affect patients understanding of pain and approach to movement and activity. Unfortunately, many clinicians still carry biomedical beliefs where pain is viewed as a simple cause and effect mechanism. Outdated beliefs about pain can create a nocebo-effect when it is projected on to patients, creating hypervigilance, guilt, frustration and worry. These attitudes and beliefs can cause a simple sprain to become chronic pain.
Words can hurt – are you mindful in your communication?
> From: Darlow et al., Ann Fam Med 11 (2016) 527-534. All rights reserved to the Annals of Family Medicine, Inc. Click here for the Pubmed summary.