HealthDay News — A study evaluating the expectations of pain physicians and their patients found that patient-specific factors may have an impact on pain clinic expectations, according to a study published online March 15 in Pain Practice.

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Pádraig Calpin, BMBS, from the University Hospital Limerick in Ireland, and colleagues compared the expectations of physicians and patients for pain clinic visits. One hundred patients attending a pain clinic for the first time were enrolled and completed a questionnaire about their expectations and outcomes that would satisfy and disappoint them. Ten physicians also completed the questionnaires and the responses were compared.

The researchers found that patients’ clinical expectations for visits focused on pain relief, education on the cause of pain, and a definitive diagnosis (34%, 24%, and 18%, respectively). Physicians’ expectations included formulation and communication of a management plan (70%), while important aims included patient assessment of and education on the cause of pain (50% and 40%, respectively). 

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Pain relief would satisfy most patients and physicians (74% and 70%, respectively). For patients, the greatest dissatisfaction would be caused by no improvement (52%), while physicians felt that causing more harm would be disappointing (50%).

“Findings from this study will help doctors consider patients’ expectations in planning pain clinic visits, improve patient-doctor communication and pain management, and may lead to further hypothesis-driven studies,” the authors wrote.


Calpin, P., Imran, A. and Harmon, D. A Comparison of Expectations of Physicians and Patients with Chronic Pain for Pain Clinic Visits. Pain Practice. 2016; Article first published online March 15, 2016 doi: 10.1111/papr.12428.