Good communication between physician and patient is essential

Effective communication between patient and physician is very important in appropriate evaluation and management of chronic pain. Pain, particularly chronic pain, is a complex phenomenon and is difficult to define due to the subjective and highly individual nature of the pain experience. The current IASP definition notes that pain is always subjective, that pain can occur without any tissue damage, and that pain is always a psychological state.1 The contemporary view of pain is that it involves CNS activity, emotions, thoughts and beliefs simultaneously.2


Pain perception factors Pain perception depends on many factors


Understanding the individual patient situation

For this reason, setting individualized treatment goals and objectives is based on understanding the individual patient situation. Treatment plans should be based on combined insights relating to factors such as: The patient’s pain history, comprehensive pain assessment leading to a pain diagnosis and individualized, patient-centric goals.

Good communication between physician and patient is a key to effective management of chronic pain. In consultations with a patient with chronic pain, there is a need to be truly patient-focused. This requires good verbal and non-verbal communication skills. It is also important to conduct conversations in an atmosphere that allows true patient focus.        

The physician and patient need to form a partnership based on good communication. This will support the patients in developing a change in mind-set regarding their perception of pain and achievable pain reduction goals.   

An actively involved patient taking responsibility in pain management is an empowered and motivated patient. Patients should understand the need for compliance with a management and therapy plan and be supported in discussing fears, concerns, and uncertainties.

Effective pain management begins with a motivated physician-patient team that has devised a realistic management plan.


1 Turk DC, et al. In: Ashburn MA, et al., editors. The Management of Pain. 1998. p. 235-48.
2 Galer BS et al. A Clinical Guide to Neuropathic Pain. 2000.


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