What messages are we sending our patients? PART II
In part II, we will look at messages we can send our patients that will promote better thought patterns and healing.
Remember what we say to our patients matter! More importantly, what we say to our patients impacts their perception on their pain/dysfunction. Here are some topics we should try to discuss/promote when talking with our patients.
1. Discuss pain sensitivity
Most patients associate pain with damage. Do not reinforce this concept. Instead, remind the patient that their painful areas are currently more sensitive. The tissue merely needs a break from the current stress being placed on it. Reinforce normal pain free movements, which should then allow the body to become less sensitive.
2. Promote Strength
I often hear in the clinic “my back/core is weak”. Pushing this concept makes individuals feel fragile. Instead, discuss with them that stronger tissues can tolerate more strain or tension. Our job is to help gain strength so your body can tolerate additional loads/ strains.
3. Encourage activity
I frequently hear patients or clinicians say “don’t do this or avoid that or rest is always good". There is always a time for avoidance and rest in very acute stages. Although, activity should be introduced as soon as pain begins to resolve (note: I did not say completely resolves). Increasing activity in a systematic approach and normalizing normal movement is a positive activity during rehabilitation.
4. Downplay imaging
Most imaging contains minor dysfunctions (DDD, Arthritis, bulging disc), it’s a normal part of aging such as grey hairs and wrinkles.
5. Promote Self-efficacy
Help patients identify symptom patterns. Problem solve and set achievable goals to avoid provocative activities during management phase. Identify specific activities/ positions/ exercises that reduce pain and set reasonable activity parameters to promote compliance.
Help determine cause and effect relationships to moments of pain and moments of symptom reduction. This helps show the patient that their actions can alter their symptoms.
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