Experiencing and controlling time in everyday life with chronic widespread pain: a qualitative study

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Richardson, Jane C ; Ong, Bie Nio ; Sim, Julius (2008)
  • Publisher: BioMed Central
  • Journal: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, volume 9, pages 3-3 (eissn: 1471-2474)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC2248579, doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-9-3
  • Subject: Research Article | Orthopedics and Sports Medicine | R1
    mesheuropmc: human activities

BACKGROUND: Chronic widespread pain (CWP) affects 10% of adults and often causes significant disability in everyday life. Research on time in chronic conditions has focused on biographical disruption and perceptions of past and future. However, more mundane aspects of time are also disrupted in a condition such as CWP, which is uncertain on a minute-to-minute, day-to-day basis, as well as in the longer term. The results presented here are part of a wider study, the aim of which was to explore how people with CWP experience and give meaning to their 'condition'. This article focuses on how mundane, repetitive and taken-for-granted aspects of everyday life are disrupted for people with CWP. METHODS: Eight people aged 40-60 years living with CWP took part in multiple in-depth interviews, diaries and family interviews, exploring the meanings and interpretations of participants and individuals' experiences in a social context. RESULTS: The findings illuminate the ways in which the experience of time is changed by CWP: carrying out the tasks of everyday life takes longer, routines are disrupted, and changes are needed in how time is managed. Some strategies for managing these tasks rely on ability to control one's time. However, this is not always possible and, for some, the experience of CWP becomes characterised by lack of such control. CONCLUSION: This study explored the concept of controllable time in the experience of CWP. Regaining control over time is an important element in coping with chronic pain, and helping patients to regain such control has potential as a target for health professionals involved in pain management.
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