Abstract

OBJECTIVE. There is limited research on the relationship between chronic pain and occupation. This phenomenological research study explored the lived occupational experiences of people who have chronic pain.

METHOD. Via demographic questionnaires, semistructured interviews, and field notes, data were collected on 13 participants with various types of pain.

RESULTS. Thematic analysis yielded one main theme: “Chronic Pain Is Life Changing.” The following subthemes also emerged: “Chronic Pain Triggers Emotional Distress”; “Chronic Pain Reveals the Strength of Relationships”; “Chronic Pain and Occupation Are Reciprocally Related Forces”; and “Chronic Pain Elicits Innovative Adaptive Responses.” Study participants reported experiencing myriad troubling emotions; however, they resourcefully modified their routines and tasks and found enhanced meaning in favored occupations.

CONCLUSIONS. This study illuminates the importance of therapeutic listening, the innovativeness of people who have chronic pain, and the possible therapeutic potential of occupation.

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