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Patients with chronic pain may need extra support when prescribed physical activity in primary care: a qualitative study

Journal article
Authors Monica Joelsson
Susanne Bernhardsson
Maria E H Larsson
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care
Volume 35
Issue 1
Pages 64-74
ISSN 0281-3432
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Pages 64-74
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/02813432.2017.12...
Keywords Physical activity on prescription, musculoskeletal pain, primary health care, motivation, qualitative, general practice, Sweden, primary-health-care, chronic musculoskeletal pain, activity referrals, widespread pain, experiences, prevalence, adherence, beliefs, Health Care Sciences & Services, General & Internal Medicine, ochaska jo, 1983, journal of consulting and clinical psychology, v51, p390, ron d, 1989, pain, v39, p345
Subject categories Clinical Medicine

Abstract

Background: Physical activity plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain, but chronic pain may implicate a poor rehabilitation outcome. The concept of physical activity on prescription (PAP) is a therapeutic option for various diseases, but there is a lack of knowledge about how patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain experience receiving the prescription. Objectives: The objective of this study was to describe the experiences of and thoughts about receiving a prescription for physical activity of people with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Design: Interviews analysed using qualitative content analysis with an inductive approach. Setting: Three primary healthcare centres in a mixed rural and suburban area in the vicinity of a large city in western Sweden. Results: Four categories were identified with the overarching theme "Physical activity in chronic pain requires extra support". There were several barriers for increasing activity level and these patients suffered from the additional burden of pain. The categories were: "Important to identify needs", "Barriers and facilitators for physical activity", "Perceptions of PAP vary" and "Effects found of receiving PAP". Conclusions: Despite the many positive experiences of receiving PAP, patients described confusion about the role and execution of PAP. Chronic pain is an additional barrier for increasing activity level, and it is crucial to consider these patients' circumstances. This study suggests that patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain have a greater need for information and extra support to overcome existing barriers, before or when physical activity is prescribed.

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