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Original report

Sense of control: Patients experiences of multimodel pain rehabilitation and its impact in their everyday lives

Anke Samulowitz, Pia Nordström, Malin Wiklund, Nenad Stankovic, Gunnel Hensing
Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Institute of Medicine, 40530 Gothenburg, Sweden. E-mail: anke.samulowitz@gu.se
DOI: 10.2340/20030711-1000014


Objective: Long-lasting pain is a challenge for patients’ everyday lives. The aim of this study was to examine how women and men who have participated in multimodal pain rehabilitation experience its impact in their everyday lives.
Patients and methods: Individual semi-structured interviews with 5 women and 3 men who had participated in multimodal pain rehabilitation at a clinic in Sweden, analysed using qualitative content analysis.
Results: Participants perceived that their “sense of control” increased, which had a positive impact in their everyday life. Sense of control consisted of 3 categories: importance of the patient–provider relationship, knowledge gained (especially on body functions and medication), and pain in a social context. Three results were discussed in particular: (i) a trustful patient–provider relationship based on confidence in the provider’s expertise was a prerequisite for pain acceptance; (ii) patients were aware of gender norms in healthcare; (iii) social support was not stressed as important to cope with pain.
Conclusion: The importance of patients’ confidence in the provider’s expertise and patients’ awareness about gender norms need consideration in terms of the patient–provider encounter. The value of social support for pain rehabilitation was found to be less important compared with previous research; this should be explored further.

Lay Abstract

We interviewed 5 women and 3 men with long-lasting pain and asked them how pain rehabilitation had affected their everyday life. The interviews were analyzed with a technique called “qualitative content analysis”. The participants experienced a trustful patient–provider relation, particularly trust in the providers’ expertise, as necessary for their pain acceptance. Pain acceptance, in turn, together with knowledge about body functions and medication, helped the participants to gain a sense of control over their pain and everyday life. Whilst highlighting a positive patient–provider relation, they saw gender norms as a potential obstacle that could affect relations with health care negatively. As research has emphasized social support as important to deal with pain in everyday life we asked about it. Surprisingly, social support was perceived as neither important to handle pain in daily life nor as affected by pain rehabilitation.


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