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Illness perceptions in people with chronic and disabling non-specific neck pain seeking primary healthcare: a qualitative study

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Illness perceptions in people with chronic and disabling non-specific neck pain seeking primary healthcare: a qualitative study

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Background
Illness perceptions can affect the way people with musculoskeletal pain emotionally and behaviorally cope with their health condition. Understanding patients illness perceptions may help facilitate patient-centered care. The purpose of this study was to explore illness perceptions and the origin of those perceptions in people with chronic disabling non-specific neck pain seeking primary care.

Methods
A qualitative study using a deductive and inductive analytical approach was conducted in 20 people with persistent (> 3 months) and disabling (i.e., Neck Disability Index ≥ 15) neck pain. Using a semi-structured format, participants were interviewed about their illness perceptions according to Leventhal’s Common Sense Model. Purposive sampling and member checking were used to secure validity of study results.

Results
Participants reported multiple symptoms, thoughts and emotions related to their neck pain, which continuously required attention and action. They felt trapped within a complex multifactorial problem. Although some participants had a broader biopsychosocial perspective to understand their symptoms, a biomedical perspective was dominant in the labelling of their condition and their way of coping (e.g., limiting load, building strength and resilience, regaining mobility, keep moving and being meaningful). Their perceptions were strongly influenced by information from clinicians. Several participants indicated that they felt uncertain, because the information they received was contradictory or did not match their own experiences.

Conclusion
Most participants reported that understanding their pain was important to them and influenced how they coped with pain. Addressing this ‘sense making process’ is a prerequisite for providing patient-centered care.

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OrganisatieHogeschool Rotterdam
LectoraatKenniscentrum Zorginnovatie
Gepubliceerd inBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders Springer Nature, Vol. 25 (2024), Uitgave: Article number: 179 (2024)
Datum2024-02-27
TypeArtikel
DOI10.1186/s12891-024-07302-7
TaalEngels

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