Living with Chronic Pain

Building Trust With a Pain Specialist


Communicate to develop trust

Open and honest communication between an individual and their pain specialist is an important component of receiving the best care possible. Developing a relationship with a health care provider built on honesty and trust is an integral part of successful pain management.

Ask for clarification of medical terms

Always ask for clarification on any confusing medical terminology. Actively engaging a physician with specific questions about diagnoses and treatments shows an individual’s commitment to their health.

Be specific about symptoms

Pain can be described using various words, such as throbbing, splitting, sharp and shooting. Describe the severity of pain, duration of pain and triggers of pain. Oftentimes, health care providers use questionnaires to get a better idea of the person’s pain experience. Answer any questions accurately and honestly.

Be honest and respectful about past pain management experiences

Recent research shows that expressing deep frustration and anger about previous pain care can delay the development of a trusting relationship with a health care provider. Although a person in chronic pain should be honest about their past pain care experiences, it is important to discuss them in a respectful, dignified manner.

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