“Does this hurt?” is one of those questions we hate to be asked, especially when the spot someone is poking or prodding truly does smart.
But it’s also a question that medical professionals at all levels still need to ask, and they also really need you to answer honestly.
That’s the best way to assess what you’re feeling and where it’s hurting, which is the first step in figuring out how to make any pain stop.
The team at Accredited Home Care asks this question in different ways, depending on what they’re examining you for. And sometimes it isn’t just this specific question, but a general inquiry about how you are – really – and if anything specific is bothering you.
Yes, in some cases, this question can open the door to a long list of mental and physical aches and discomfort, from minor gripes to larger sources of pain.
At the other end of the spectrum, you may have people who still may not be comfortable volunteering this info by saying things like “I’m good” or “I’m fine” when it’s likely to be an untrue statement. They may not want to bother people with their ailments, try to have a positive outlook on life, or perhaps may dismiss what they’re feeling as minor, especially when compared to the pain that others might be feeling.
So part of being in the medical field often requires asking better questions to get better answers. Rather than a general “how are you?” which can lead to a vague, unhelpful answer, consider asking questions about certain areas or conditions. “Your knee hurt last week. How is it today?” or “How’s your elbow?” or “Is that new medication helping with the depression any?”
It still requires a level of trust for a client to answer these questions accurately and honestly, but we hope our people will be able to develop this kind of relationship so clients feel comfortable answering.
Questions for, from therapists
Along with basic care and nursing services, Accredited Home Care also can provide access to a variety of therapies for patients, including massage therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.
While all of these therapists have trained in certain techniques, each patient is different in what they need and where to start.
So that’s why communication is vital. A patient chart may give basic info about his or her health background, but hearing more details from a client can be useful to a therapist in deciding where to start the process.
For instance, a massage therapist may ask questions about what part of the body is most sore and what is the intensity of these feelings. Learning this info can help put together a map of what parts to work on first, even the pressure to exert.
Then we have physical therapists also likely will benefit from asking questions and communicating well with the client.
Some of these opportunities can include:
- Have you had physical therapy before? What was the outcome?
- What parts of the body currently are hurting?
- What areas are the most tender?
- Where do you typically feel stress?
- Do you like being touched? Are you ready to be?
- Have you suffered any recent trauma or medical conditions? Or trauma like an accident that was less recent but may still be affecting things like balance and pain?
- What do you want to work on at the next appointment?
Knowing details about stress points can be useful in figuring out a plan of action. For instance, some people store their stress in different parts of the body. This can cause inflammation in affected areas, and make things difficult for the overall improvement of the body.
Besides talking to clients about a variety of physical therapy-related questions, there are some things a physical therapist may say and do to make the process go better.
- This is a key virtue in any sort of relationship. Clients will tell you what they’re feeling and where they’re feeling it. This information is vital. A physical therapist who doesn’t ask these questions and goes right to work won’t be very popular. Or worse, a provider who interrupts while the client is talking also is disrespectful and may not get the answers you’re looking for or build trust. It happens: a 2007 study of older patients and health care providers shows that interruptions are actually fairly common, especially if the client has trouble vocalizing.
- Listen for the level of pain. The goal of physical therapy is to restore movement, which sometimes involves working with limbs that have had damage or aren’t working anymore. Working on these areas over an entire session can start to cause aching or more intense pain. So a physical therapist should be able to detect when things begin to feel a little sore and things start to hurt a lot. Then they can consider switching exercises or taking a break.
Overall, physical therapists can help clients in a lot of ways but figuring out these ways can often be determined by answers from a client.