Author(s): Corbett M, Foster NE, Ong BN
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Abstract Previous qualitative research has illustrated a range of issues about the daily life of people living with low back pain (LBP). In this paper, we consider the struggle between hope and despair through consideration of six people's narratives about their experiences of chronic LBP. The six cases were selected from a larger qualitative study of 37 patients in the UK, sampled from a prospective cohort of people consulting their general practitioner. These six cases were selected for particular focus as they exemplify the fluctuating emotions of hope and despair. A number of linked themes emerged which influenced the extent to which people oscillate between hope and despair, the most salient of which were 'uncertainty', 'impact on self', 'social context of living with pain', and 'worry and fear of the future'. It is clear from the narrative accounts that it is not only just physical pain that the back pain sufferer must endure, but also that the psychosocial implications pose an added and often complicated challenge. Health care practitioners should consider these fluctuating emotions of hope and despair in order to facilitate more patient-centred strategies for treatment.
This article was published in Soc Sci Med
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation