Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Melanie Mills


Recognizing nonverbal messages of pain in a health care setting is essential. The nonverbal communication of pain is a communication aspect typically overlooked in modern health care environments. This research surveyed alternative health care providers to determine what nonverbal behaviors they recognize as pain indicators and how they react to those behaviors. Massage therapists and chiropractors from a Midwest county filled out surveys and participated in a focus group. Fifty nonverbal pain indicators, such as guarding body parts, postural inequalities, gait, and clenched fists, among others, were charted. Several other topics such as learning how to determine nonverbal pain indicators, determining nonverbal pain through energy, anxiety and pain, and how alternative health care providers act toward nonverbal messages of pain, among others, were discussed during the focus group.