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A qualitative investigation of factors that matter to individuals in the pain management process

Franklin, ZC and Smith, NC and Fowler, NE (2015) A qualitative investigation of factors that matter to individuals in the pain management process. Disability and Rehabilitation. ISSN 1464-5165


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Objective: Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a complex condition to manage with widespread consequences including physical disability, psychosocial effects and increased use of healthcare. Previous research has found patients’ experiences within health care can be influenced by factors such as expectations, therapist characteristics and treatment process. This study used patient interviews to identify the key factors that influence individuals’ experiences in the management of chronic pain. Design: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews in either a home or hospital setting. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted on eight participants attending hospital-based pain management. Participants were asked about their experiences of pain management and living with a chronic pain condition. Interviews were transcribed and analysed thematically. Results: Three main themes were identified; impact of their condition on daily life, clinical interactions and the pain management process. Understanding the condition was a key factor for the patients, in particular, explanation by the clinician. The temporality of their pain meant timing of appointments was critical. Patients reported factors such as family days and follow-up sessions would improve their treatment experience. Conclusions: This study highlighted important factors for healthcare professionals and patients in the management of chronic pain. Participants indicated a desire to understand their condition and learn strategies for selfmanagement to allow them to cope better. As patients found benefit from being involved in the management process, discussions around the options for treatment may enhance management and rehabilitation. It is important we continue to research factors important to individuals with musculoskeletal pain to find an effective, evidence-based framework for understanding and managing this condition.

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