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    The personal experience of chronic benign lower back pain: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

    Osborn, M. and Smith, Jonathan A. (2015) The personal experience of chronic benign lower back pain: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. British Journal of Pain 9 (1), pp. 65-83. ISSN 2049-4637.

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    Objectives. Chronic low back pain is a major health problem and one where pain, physical impairment and biological pathology are only very loosely correlated). It is considered that the experience of pain, its distress and disability is mediated by its meaning to the sufferer. The intention of this study was to explore the sufferers' personal experience of their pain. Design. Qualitative research is often recommended to complement the quantitative work on chronic pain that has been published to date. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was employed in an in-depth study of a small sample of chronic pain patients. Method. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with nine women pain patients. The verbatim transcripts of those interviews served as the data for an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results. Four themes emerged which are described under the broad headings: searching for an explanation; comparing this self with other selves; not being believed; and withdrawing from others. Conclusions. The participants shared an inability to explain the persistent presence of their pain or to reconstruct any contemporary self-regard. While they used social comparisons to try and help them make sense of their situation, these comparisons proved equivocal in their outcome. Participants were unable to establish the legitimacy of the chronic nature of their pain and in certain situations felt obliged to appear ill to conform to the expectations of others. By default, participants treated their own pain as a stigma and tended to withdraw from social contact. They felt confused, afraid for their future and vulnerable to shame.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2015 17:11
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:20


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