Why words are as important as actions when treating chronic pain

It's a question of trust
Stephen hobbles into the consult room, having thrown his back doing DIY. He squirms as he’s examined by his GP, who sends him off with some ibuprofen and exercise advice.

Three months later, he’s back. Stephen’s been exercising and taking the ibuprofen, but he’s still in agony. His GP switches him to extended-release naproxen and, against her better judgement, orders imaging.

The X-rays are normal. But the pain has metamorphosed from acute to chronic. Gently, the GP asks Stephen about other issues. Is he stressed at work? Does he get depressed?

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