“It feels like someone is hammering my feet”: Understanding pain and its management from the perspective of people with Multiple Sclerosis

Harrison, A., Bogosian, A., Silber, E., McCracken, L. & Moss-Morris, R. (2015). “It feels like someone is hammering my feet”: Understanding pain and its management from the perspective of people with Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis, 21(4), pp. 466-476. doi: 10.1177/1352458514544538

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Abstract

Background:

Pain affects around 63% of people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS). Biomedical treatments demonstrate limited efficacy. More research is needed to understand pain from the individual’s perspective in order to better inform a patient-centred approach that improves engagement, self-management and outcome.

Objective:

The objective of this paper is to explore pwMS’ experience and responses to pain, and their perspectives on pain management.

Methods:

Twenty-five in-depth, semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and analysed using an inductive thematic analysis approach with elements of grounded theory.

Results:

Key themes included vivid descriptions of pain and beliefs that pain is unpredictable, a sign of damage and may worsen. Anger was a common emotional response. Two dominant pain management themes emerged: one related to pain reduction and another to acceptance. Those focusing on pain reduction appeared to engage in cycles in which they struggled with symptoms and experienced continued distress.

Conclusion:

Findings identify pain-related beliefs, emotional reactions and disparate pain-management attitudes. All may influence pwMS’ responses to pain and what they ask of their clinicians. Uncovering pwMS’ personal beliefs about pain, and introducing a broader biopsychosocial understanding of pain in the clinical context, may provide opportunities to rectify potentially unhelpful management choices and enhance pain acceptance.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s), 2014. Reprints and permissions: http://www.sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav
Uncontrolled Keywords: Multiple sclerosis, pain, experiences, management, qualitative, thematic analysis
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/16914

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