Medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) are the presenting symptoms in a significant number of medical consultations in the UK. In many cases, the outcome is unsatisfactory for both the doctor and the patient. This may be partly due to the ongoing nature of the patient’s complaint and dissatisfaction due to lack of closure at the end of the consultation.

The relationship between the doctor and the patient is of paramount importance, since a cure may not be possible and understanding of the patient’s condition may be limited. Good communication skills are needed to improve the effectiveness of consultations in cases where other medical interventions are of limited value. This article reviews the current understanding of MUS. Aspects of the medical consultation are analysed and strategies for patient management and future care are made.

Managing medically unexplained symptoms by Dr David Roberts in InnoVait (education and inspiration for general practice), 2015 Dec. (abstract only).

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