Adapted from Human Givens Vol1 2013 Journal of Health Psychology 2013.
Facial expression is the best way to communicate to health care professionals if you are in pain and how severe the pain is.
Patient vignettes were assessed by health care professionals. Sometimes they were told that the pain source was due to arthritis or cancer and sometimes that the pain source was unknown.
When asked to assess pain levels from facial expression, what the person said and how they said it, avoidance of movement and posture, and interpersonal contact, doctors, nurses and health care assistants all paid much more attention to the patient’s facial expression than to the other factors, particularly if the pain source was unknown.
My comment: I have come across this situation myself as a patient. Being very factual and stoical doesn’t seem to work!