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Free Content Service evaluation of an acceptance-based pain management programme using a phenomenological approach

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This study aimed to evaluate the NHS Lanarkshire Pain Management Programme (NHSL PMP), which uses an acceptance-based approach, by exploring if and how it helped former participants return to 'as normal as possible' a life with chronic pain, an aim suggested for such programmes by the British Pain Society.


Data collection and analysis were underpinned by a phenomenological approach. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 1 male and 4 female former participants at their homes.


Four higher-order themes emerged (two of which included subthemes):

i. Lived experience of chronic pain (which included: comments on the normality of life; physical restrictions); emotional impact; stigma of chronic pain and adaption;

ii. Aspects of acceptance;

iii. Experience of the programme (which included: understanding and social support; and turning point);

iv. Suggestions for the programme.


Participants related a 'normal life' to life that had been lost due to chronic pain. However, participants described a sense of 'normal for me', which included an impact of the pain, though some factors had been modified positively by attending the programme. Participants used aspects of the course individually and in combination, and with non-specific group effects to improve their lives. The experience of the programme included aspects of understanding and social support, and a theme emerged relating to change, which was linked with acceptance and improved management, in line with similar studies.

Recommendations from this evaluation include: improving the way the course ends; developing an appropriate mission statement for PMPs; and exploring the concept of 'normal life' for people who live with chronic pain.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Pain and Rehabilitation is a peer-reviewed, Bi-annual journal of the Physiotherapy Pain Association and special interest group of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. The journal comprises a range of different articles types from orignial articles to systematic reviews and letters around the topic of pain and rehabilitation. The journal is multidisciplinary in its focus and welcomes submissions from all professionals working in this multidisciplinary field. the abstract of all articles will be freely avilable online. Full text articles are available free online to members of the Physiotherapy Pain Association, and access to individual PDF articles can be purchased by non members.
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