Expert Commentary

Effectively Communicating With Chronic Pain Patients

Michael B. Ellner, DD, CHt, MSH

Quantum Focusing Media
New York, NY


Clinicians are facing increasing financial, administrative, and regulatory pressure in their practices, which can adversely affect their interactions with patients. Not surprisingly, the mental states of both the healthcare practitioner and the chronic pain patient have significant effects on treatment outcomes. Clinicians can best serve their patients in pain by remaining calm and encouraging open dialogue during office visits. Effective communication with chronic pain patients engenders better therapeutic relationships and information gathering, while fostering realistic treatment goals. Here, Michael Ellner discusses his eBook “Bedside Manners: The Pain Clinician’s Guide to Effective Medical Communication,” and touches on techniques for creating and maintaining better rapport with patients—for example, methods to avoid personalizing patients’ behaviors, relaxing between patients, and language that promotes positive patient responses.


1. Ellner M. Bedside Manners: The Pain Clinician’s Guide to Effective Medical Communication. 2011.
2. Söderberg EI, Carlsson JY, Stener-Victorin E, Dahlöf C. Subjective well-being in patients with chronic tension-type headache: effect of acupuncture, physical training, and relaxation training. Clin J Pain. 2011;27(5):448-456.
3. Rhiner M. The American Pain Foundation TARGET Chronic Pain Initiative: better patient/clinician communication to improve pain management. J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. 2004;18(4):55-63.
4. Kenny DT. Constructions of chronic pain in doctor-patient relationships: Bridging the communication chasm. Patient Educ Couns. 2004;52(3):297-305.

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