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Chronic pain affected the way individuals viewed their bodies, their relationships with others, and their sense of time

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QUESTION: What are the perceptions of adults living with chronic pain?


Eidetic (descriptive) phenomenology.




13 adults (age range 27–79 y, 69% women, 92% white, 77% married) who were >18 years of age, willing to talk about their lived experiences, and with a duration of non-malignant chronic pain ranging from 7 months to 41 years, were recruited via a newspaper article and network sampling. Pain was most often located in the back, but also in the shoulder, arm, neck, hip, leg, jaw, and ear.


In individual 1–2 hour interviews, participants were asked to describe what it was like to live with chronic pain. The interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. The transcriptions were analysed independently by the researcher, and then read aloud and discussed by an interdisciplinary research group. Global themes were clustered to produce a thematic structure of the phenomenon.

Main findings

Findings fit into the context of the 3 existential grounds …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr S P Thomas, 351 Nursing, College of Nursing, 1200 Volunteer Blvd, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA. Fax +1 865 974 3569.