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Remaking the future: contemplating a life with chronic widespread pain

Remaking the future: contemplating a life with chronic widespread pain

Chronic Illness 2(3): 209-218

This paper reports findings from a larger study that aimed to explore how people with chronic widespread pain experience, understand and make meaning of their 'condition', and attempt to influence or exert control over their pain. This included an exploration of sufferers' understanding of the past and future as well as of their present situation. A combination of data generation methods was used, including lifegrid interviews, diaries and diary interviews, with eight people with chronic widespread pain. Five family members also participated in interviews. Analytical methods were based on interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). With regard to their views about the future, participants could be categorized into those who were 'optimistic' ('things can only get better'), those who were pessimistic ('things will get worse'), and those who were overwhelmed with uncertainty about the future. Uncertainty was a dominant feature in all the accounts of the future. The pervading uncertainty of chronic widespread pain, in which there is no framework for the trajectory of the condition, affects perceptions of the future and makes planning for the future difficult. The findings also raise the question of how this makes chronic widespread pain different from other chronic conditions in terms of understanding of chronicity, time and future, and hence 'acceptance'.

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Accession: 050165947

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PMID: 17007697

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