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Papers of the Week

2019 Jan-Dec

J Prim Care Community Health


What Works for Managing Chronic Pain: An Appreciative Inquiry Qualitative Analysis.


Holtrop J S, Fisher M, Martinez DE, Simpson M, Awadallah NS, Nease DE, Zittleman L, Westfall JM
J Prim Care Community Health. 2019 Jan-Dec; 10:2150132719885286.
PMID: 31747822.


Chronic pain is a prevalent and dynamic condition for both patients and providers. Learning how patients with chronic pain successfully manage their pain may prove helpful in guiding health care providers in their treatment of other patients with chronic pain. This research sought to identify successful strategies for managing chronic pain from interviews with individuals experiencing chronic pain who were able to do "most of what they want on most days." Qualitative, descriptive study. Patients were from metro Denver, Colorado, USA and were recruited from community and health care settings. Appreciative inquiry (AI) was used as an approach to elicit stories of successful pain management. We conducted one-on-one, in person interviews using a semistructured interview guide. Analysis was completed using a grounded hermeneutic editing approach. Twenty-four interviews were completed representing a range of adult ages, genders, race/ethnicities, and underlying reasons for chronic pain. Consistent themes were found in that all patients had developed multiple strategies for ongoing pain management and prevention, as well as a mental approach embedded with elements of positive beliefs and determination. Friends, family, support group members, and health care providers were key in support and ongoing management. Although 10 patients regularly used opioid pain medications, none were dependent, and all stated an active desire to avoid these medications. Successful chronic pain management seems possible as displayed from the patient narratives but requires persistence through individual trial and error. Recommendations for health care provider teams are made to apply these findings to assist patients with chronic pain.