Now, 'vocabulary of pain' to help doctors better understand their patients
Washington, July 27 (ANI): Patients with chronic pain struggle to express how they feel to the doctors and health-care providers who are trying to understand and treat them.
Now a University at Buffalo psychiatrist has suggested that in order to overcome the problem a vocabulary of pain is needed.
Werner Ceusters, MD, professor of psychiatry in UB's School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is attempting to help patients suffering from chronic pain and their doctors by drawing on ontology, the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of being or existence.
"Pain research is very difficult because nothing allows the physician to see the patient's pain directly. The patient has to describe what he or she is feeling," said Ceusters.
"If we want to more effectively help people suffering from chronic pain, we need to study a population that is consistent, patients who have features in common.
"The problem with pain is, it's very hard to build up a group with the same sort of pain. People don't have the same vocabulary or linguistic capabilities or even the same cultural backgrounds.
"It's something pain researchers have struggled with for decades. We need to develop a vocabulary of pain," he stated.
That's where ontology comes in.
"The philosophical definition of ontology is the study of things that exist and how they relate to each other," said Ceusters.
He says that in much the same way, definitions of pain and especially of chronic pain need to be much more precise; ontology provides methods of distinguishing among categories and describing data in uniform and formal ways.
The research will be discussed at the International Conference on Biomedical Ontology, sponsored by UB that will be held in Buffalo July 26-30. (ANI)
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