To move forward in medicine, perhaps the best approach would be to take a step back and rethink what the medical community considers to be standard care. Understanding the reasoning behind why things are the way they are enables clinicians to keep what works and fix what doesn’t. Applying this process to pain management encourages medical specialists to meet their patients’ myriad clinical and emotional needs.  

Becky Curtis, PCC, believes pain-management paradigms need to be reexamined to effectively manage and treat pain in patients. As a survivor of a serious rollover motor vehicle accident in a remote Montana location, she recognized the need to advocate for those suffering with chronic pain.   

The pain management coach points out that there are several ways a physician can build an environment where both the clinician and patient become an integral part of the pain-management process: developing new language tools to empower patients; acquiring methods to reduce stress in working with patients; and learning to establish restorative partnerships with patients.

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“I know many physicians who are building restorative relationships with patients. But those who do take fewer patients, and take more time with them,” she said. “Those who aren’t may have time constraints that make it difficult to work this closely with a patient.”

Understanding what a patient with chronic pain is experiencing can build upon those foundational elements. Individuals with chronic pain often report a sense of feeling defeated. They may lack a support system and often don’t have appropriate coping skills for managing the effects of their pain. They may experience depression, low self-esteem, and low levels of confidence. Negative-thinking patterns and fear-avoidance behavior can also contribute to pain syndromes.

This article originally appeared on MPR