Content » Vol 50, Issue 1

Original report

”The acceptance” of living with chronic pain – an ongoing process: A qualitative study of patient experiences of multimodal rehabilitation in primary care

Elisabeth Pietilä Holmner, Britt-Marie Stålnacke, Paul Enthoven, Gunilla Stenberg
Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Medicine, Umeå University, 90185 Umeå, Sweden. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2286


Objective: To explore patient experiences of participating in multimodal pain rehabilitation in primary care.
Subjects: Twelve former patients (7 women and 5 men) in multimodal rehabilitation in primary care were interviewed about their experiences of multimodal rehabilitation.
Methods: The interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
Results: Analysis resulted in 4 categories: (i) from discredited towards obtaining redress; (ii) from uncertainty towards knowledge; (iii) from loneliness towards togetherness; and (iv) “acceptance of pain”: an ongoing process. The results show that having obtained redress, to obtain knowledge about chronic pain, and to experience fellowship with others with the same condition were helpful in the acceptance process. However, there were patients who found it difficult to reconcile themselves with a life with chronic pain after multimodal rehabilitation. To find what was “wrong” and to have a medical diagnosis and cure were important.
Conclusion: Patients in primary care multimodal rehabilitation experience a complex, ongoing process of accepting chronic pain. Four important categories were described. These findings will help others to understand the experience and perspective of patients with chronic pain who engage in multimodal rehabilitation.

Lay Abstract

In a study former patients, in multimodal rehabilitation (MMR) in primary care, were interviewed about their experiences of MMR.
The study showed that most informants felt believed by the health professionals, and that they had obtained redress. The rehabilitation contributed to informants´ increased knowledge and understanding of chronic pain and it´s complexity. Shared experiences in group meetings had led to fellowship and less feelings of loneliness for certain patients. To accept living with chronic pain was not a straightforward process. After the rehabilitation programme, some patients were still searching for a treatment in order to be free from pain.


Do you want to comment on this paper? The comments will show up here and if appropriate the comments will also separately be forwarded to the authors. You need to login/create an account to comment on articles. Click here to login/create an account.