578. Pain cognitions and impact of low back pain after participation in a self-management program: a qualitative study.

Joern L, Kongsted A, Thomassen L, Hartvigsen J, Ravn S.
Chiropractic and Manual Therapies. 2022 Feb 21;30(1):8.


Benefits from low back pain (LBP) treatments seem to be related to patients changing their pain cognitions and developing an increased sense of control. Still, little is known about how these changes occur. The objective of this study was to gain insights into possible shifts in the understanding of LBP and the sense of being able to manage pain among patients participating in a LBP self-management intervention.

Using a qualitative study and a content analytic framework, we investigated the experiences of patients with LBP who participated in 'GLA:D® Back', a group-based structured patient education and exercise program. Data were generated through qualitative semi-structured interviews conducted between January 2019 and October 2019. Interviews focused on experiences with pain and were analysed using a thematic analytical approach. The Common Sense Model and self-efficacy theory formed the theoretical framework for the interpretations. Participants were sampled to represent people who were either dissatisfied or satisfied with their participation in GLA:D® Back. Fifteen participants aged 26-62, eight women and seven men, were interviewed from February to April 2020.

Four main themes, corresponding to the characterisation of four patient groups, were identified: 'Feeling miscast, 'Maintaining reservations', 'Struggling with habits' and 'Handling it'. The participants within each group differed in how they understood, managed, and communicated about their LBP. Some retained the perception of LBP as a threatening disease, some expressed a changed understanding that did not translate into new behaviors, while others had changed their understanding of pain and their reaction to pain.

The same intervention was experienced very differently by different people dependent on how messages and communication resonated with the individual patient's experiences and prior understanding of LBP. Awareness of the ways that individuals' understanding of LBP interact with behaviour and physical activities appear central for providing adaptive professional support and meeting the needs of individual patients.

Back pain; Common sense model; Pain perceptions; Self-efficacy; Self-management.

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