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ThesisUniversity of Akureyri>Heilbrigðisvísindasvið>Meistaraprófsritgerðir>

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/1220


Trying to live a normal life despite the pain : women´s lived experience of coping with chronic nonmalignant pain


The aim of this phenomenological study was to add to the body of knowledge and
to get an understanding of how women with chronic nonmalignant pain cope in
everyday life and how it affects their well-being and daily activities. Chronic
nonmalignant pain has been defined as a pain that has lasted 6 months or longer, is
ongoing, is due to non-life-threatening causes, has not responded to current
available treatment methods, and may continue for the remainder of the patient´s
life. Coping refers to anything the person does or thinks to manage demands so it
either modifies the environment, or changes the meaning of the situation.
Semi-structured, in-depth, tape-recorded interviews were used to collect data after
an informed consent had been obtained from five women with chronic
nonmalignant pain in different sites of the body. Their ages ranged from 36 to 53
years. Analysis of data followed a method adapted from the Vancouver School of
doing Phenomenology.
An overriding theme, with three major themes and 14 subthemes emerged from the
data. The overriding theme ´Keeping the pain tolerable` can be described as the
main goal for the women. In order to be able to keep the pain tolerable the women
feel they must ´Learn to live with the pain` which is the first major theme which
focuses on searching for pain relief, it´s causes, and cure, if that exists. ´Feeling
one is not alone` is another major theme and describes the necessary support both
provided by others and by themselves to others in a similar situation. ´No-one can
see that something is wrong` is the last major theme and is centred on the pain´s
effect on the self-image and self-esteem, and the importance of an understanding
from others and a positive self-image.
To be able to live a good and fulfilling life with chronic nonmalignant pain and
cope with it, the women described how they had to build a new pattern where the
pain no longer controls. In reality this pain is very much a part of the sufferer´s life
at the same time as it is bound to affect other members of his or her family. In all
likelihood it has to be accepted as an incurable one. Intermittent reliefs may help
but when the pain recurs; one must know how to respond.
The result of this study can be helpful for health care professionals to increase the
quality of care for chronic pain sufferers and be a guide for further research
focusing on coping with pain.


Verkefnið er opið nemendum og starfsfólki Háskólans á Akureyri


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