Changing the Way We Talk About Pain

The beginning of this article rightly points out that, regardless of advancements in technology, patients and doctors must rely on words to communicate things like pain intensity and type—whether it’s a “throbbing ache” or a “dispersed shooting” feeling. There’s really no way around basic questions and answers. And surprisingly, the 80 or so words most commonly used by medical professionals were developed in the 1970s. After a few decades, one researcher thinks it’s time for an update.

Clinical psychology professor Ephrem Fernandez believes the way we talk about pain could be a breakthrough in itself. He has developed what he calls the Pain Descriptor System which offers 36 words to describe pain. They include ways to express the feeling (scalding/pulling), intensity, and emotional effect. By using these precise terms, doctors may be able to better diagnose and treat patients’ underlying problems.

Read the full article here: What’s in a Word?

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