Clinical Pharmacology & Biopharmaceutics
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Chronic pain sufferers have difficulty translating their abstract and subjective experiences of pain into words. Scales to quantify
pain have limited success in accurately conveying the intensity and specificity of pain. Not only do patients who are unable to
communicate their pain suffer from isolation and depression, but so do their spouses and children. This study examines the benefits
of creating a pain vocabulary through the use of keeping a pain journal and other creative writing techniques as assigned during a
six-week online therapeutic pain treatment workshop. Workshop participants must have a qualifying chronic pain condition and
are referred to the class by their health care team. Curriculum includes reviewing cognitive frameworks to restructure metaphoric
associations about pain. Participants who recognize pain as a communication tool have a better chance of identifying their pain
and treating it. Findings shed light on correlations between a patient?s ability to express pain and changes in levels of perceived pain
and medication dosages. Creating a pain vocabulary is recommended as one way to disclose of tacit knowledge.
Karin Becker is working on her Ph.D. in Communication and Public Discourse at the University of North Dakota. Her specific interest is health
communication and her research interests focus on pain communication and the social and professional stigmas of expressing chronic pain
conditions. She is an evaluator and researcher at the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health
Sciences conducting community health needs assessments on critical access hospitals and facilitating strategic planning workshops. She has over
ten years of teaching experience including teaching research methods and qualitative techniques to graduate and undergraduate students at Fort
Lewis College and the University of Denver. Originally from Durango, CO, she is an avid hiker and landscape photographer but currently, her lens is
focused on her five year old son and two year old daughter.
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