GP-patient gap on arm care
Patients are much less happy with the outcome of GP consultations for arm pain than for other conditions, UK research shows.
A survey of 2,632 working-age patients showed one in five were unhappy with the level of care they received when presenting for upper limb pain.
But those with a tendency
to somatise were most dis-
satisfied, the results published online in Family Practice
A negative outlook about the prognosis for arm pain was found to be common, with a third or more patients believing it would last longer than three months and neglect could lead to permanent harm.
Study leader Dr Keith Pal-mer, clinical scientist and consultant occupational physician at the MRC epidemiology resource centre at the University of Southampton, said the results reflected a 'mismatch' between patients' and doctors' perspectives, although he admitted it was difficult for GPs to reassure patients with no obvious sign of ill-health.
'Every GP tries to be as sympathetic as possible,' he said, 'but sometimes they come across patients where there is no obvious pathology but a level of distress out of proportion to their condition.
'It's very difficult to reassure, and you need to try to get a better match between the patient's perspective and the doctor's.'