27 August 2008

Suit of Armour

Skevington notes:
By supplying lists of pain adjectives, practitioners and researchers are effectively teaching their patients a pain language that...provides a legitimate lexicon that may be recycled in later consultations as the 'correct' descriptor to use. By supplying the words and following the prescribed instructions, we blinker ourselves to our patients' ability to describe pain in their own varied language, which in many cases is not reducible to a single word in the English language. For example, a patient with early synovitis who was asked to describe her pain said, 'it is like a suit of armour which is too tight'. The author is still struggling to translate this into a single descriptor from the McGill Pain Questionnaire. [p.52]