Sincere empathy can be a challenge for many healthcare professionals because we are confronted with an endless stream of people that have encountered horrible life events and we can’t possibly begin to understand the psychological stressors that they are now facing, either real or perceived. Many of us work in healthcare models that give us very limited time with a client due to the volume of people we are trying to help and/or the financial constraints of who is paying for our time. The combination of these two factors doesn’t usually result in a positive experience for patients trying to navigate through their medical system armed with only a very superficial knowledge of their bodies.
Our medical systems are typically very good at keeping people alive, but after that they can become a series of very stressful life events that cause just as much harm as good to a person’s psyche. People that find themselves caught in a cycle of chronic pain are the prime example of how someone can do everything right in their search for help, but end up having the process actually cause more harm than their original injury. Chronic pain is a combination of entangled physical and psychological stressors that shifts more and more towards the cognitive side as time passes. Every new professional that a patient sees and has to tell his story to without receiving some form of empathy and/or meaningful explanation further feeds the fire of fear, stress and anxiety related to his pain.
Healthcare professionals are trained to first and foremost screen for ‘red flags,’ or signs of something more sinister than a simple muscle strain. Physicians have the most knowledge and experience of the various sinister conditions and because of that fact their approach to dealing with less threatening issues like low back pain can become both less useful and less empathetic. Read More