"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind..."

- Rudyard Kipling 

If you're a healthcare professional, words are amongst the most important 'tools' that you have. 

Words convey meaning, experiences, beliefs, empathy, shape and develop relationships, emotions, feelings  and ultimately influence behaviour.

Powerful right? Read on...

 

OK, so words are important, but what's the big deal...?

The 'big deal' is that how we as clinicians communicate and relate to our patients, can have a significant influence on their experience of and recovery from musculoskeletal pain and disability...

 Hmmm, go on...

Well, much of musculoskeletal healthcare CPD is focused on developing and learning new 'technical skills' to perform on patients' bodies...such as manual therapy techniques, taping, needling, and 'gunning'. These interventions are not delivered in a vacuum; rather language is used to frame and give them meaning which is communicated to the people receiving them...

But, my patients love me and I have a busy clinic...

That's great, we're pleased for you. However, research is clear that many musculoskeletal therapists across the professional landscape, lack the skills, knowledge and confidence to implement the biopsychosocial model, and this includes skills in language, and communication...

But, I talk to my patients all the time...as I said, they love me!

Again, we're happy for you...but the prevalence of chronic musculoskeletal pain is increasing. Based on the current evidence, it appears that the way clinicians use communication and language to interact with patients (e.g. when explaining their pain/symptoms, examination/MRi findings, describing the manual and physical interventions/treatments) can be enhanced. With the result being that patients with pain experience less fear, worry, and disempowerment but higher level of reassurance, confidence and function enabling them to continue their journey towards recovery...

So all this time I've been saying all the wrong things to patients- now I feel terrible! 

Don't! We've all been there. Evidence and knowledge is constantly changing, and it can be a challenge to keep up. The move towards a biopsychosocial understanding of pain and disability, means that there's tension with many of the traditional 'biomedical/biomechanical' concepts, techniques and practices which we all learnt in our undergraduate education. It can be hard to know how to integrate these newer, evidence-based strategies into practice...

This sounds great- how can Words Matter Education help?

We have a range of online resources, videos, courses and podcasts all dedicated to improving clinical communication in the context of a BPS model of musculoskeletal practice. Continued professional development on areas of clinical communication are now mandatory in for many health professions, and we are able to help you meet that requirement through our courses and subscription packages.

 

 

With a growing evidence of the lack specificity of physical treatments and assessments, and growing evidence for the role of psychological, social and relational factors in clinical outcomes- it can feel overwhelming to know where to start this journey. 

There has never been a better time to develop your clinical communication skills, knowledge and strategies. 

WANT TO DEVELOP YOUR SKILLS IN MANAGING BACK PAIN USING CURRENT EVIDENCE?

 

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