Here is a short list of papers warning of harm that can be caused simply by word choice. My current favourite is Vranceanu AM, Elbon M, Ring D., 2011, The emotive impact of orthopedic words. J Hand Ther. 2011 Apr-Jun;24(2):112-6. 1. Excerpt: “The human system that evolved to process an abundance of words and messages has been described in terms of two types of message processing: central processing (an active and critical thinking process focused on the message), and peripheral processing (a passive process that takes cues from other parts of the message—the tone and pitch of voice, credibility of speaker, mannerisms, emotive content). The concept of peripheral processing emphasizes that we evaluate the message based on much more than the language.” 2. Excerpt: “ Patients are intimidated by the medical setting and are more likely to use peripheral rather than central processing when presented with complex medical language.Words with negative connotations, such as ‘‘tear,’’ ‘‘injury,’’ ‘‘overuse,’’ and ‘‘over compensation’’have more negative impact” [according to ANEW, a measure of affective influence of words, rated for pleasure, arousal, and dominance] “..than words with a neutral or positive connotation…. it would seem preferable to start with a baseline diagnosis of arm ache (nonspecific arm pain, idiopathic arm pain) to frame the illness in the most positive, optimistic, enabling, and practical construction that is consistent with current evidence.” 1. Caroline Bittar , Osvaldo J.M. Nascimento; Placebo and nocebo effects in the neurological practice. Arq. Neuro-Psiquiatr. vol.73 no.1 São Paulo Jan. 2015 (FULL TEXT)
2. Benedetti F, Lanotte M, Lopiano L, Colloca L; When words are painful: Unraveling the mechanisms of the nocebo effect. Neuroscience 147 (2007) 260 –271 (FULL TEXT) 3. Colloca L, Benedetti F.; Nocebo hyperalgesia: how anxiety is turned into pain. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2007 Oct;20(5):435-9.
4. Vagg, Michael; The right words matter when talking about pain. The Conversation (US pilot)December 2 2015 online (FULL TEXT)
5. Susanna E. Bedell, Thomas B. Graboys, Elizabeth Bedell, Bernard Lown; Words That Harm, Words That Heal. ARCH INTERN MED/ VOL 164, JULY 12, 2004 (FULL TEXT)
6. Ben Darlow, Anthony Dowell, G. David Baxter, Fiona Mathieson, Meredith Perry, and Sarah Dean; The Enduring Impact of What Clinicians Say to People With Low Back Pain. Ann Fam Med. 2013 Nov; 11(6): 527–534 (FULL TEXT)
7. Ben Darlow, Beliefs about back pain: The confluence of client, clinician and community. IJOM, June 2016 Vol 20 53-61 8. Colagiuri B, Quinn VF, Colloca L; Nocebo Hyperalgesia, Partial Reinforcement, and Extinction. J Pain. 2015 Oct;16(10):995-1004 9. Oliver P. Thomson, Katie Collyer; ‘Talking a different language’: a qualitative study of chronic low back pain patients’ interpretation of the language used by student osteopaths. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine Volume 24, June 2017, Pages 3-11
10. Darlow B1, Dean S, Perry M, Mathieson F, Baxter GD, Dowell A.; Easy to Harm, Hard to Heal: Patient Views About the Back. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2015 Jun 1;40(11):842-50
11. Vranceanu AM, Elbon M, Ring D., 2011, The emotive impact of orthopedic words. J Hand Ther. 2011 Apr-Jun;24(2):112-6