Mind and body management strategies for chronic pain and rheumatoid arthritis.
Shariff F., Carter J., Dow C., Polley M., Salinas M., Ridge D.
Chronic pain (CP) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pose particular challenges for the individual. Although biomedicine inevitably plays a role in the reduction or control of some symptoms for people living with chronic pain, directed self-management is also increasingly recognized as an important tool. Self-management can address pain-associated symptoms of CP and RA, and often has broader aims, such as promoting positive well-being. Forty-six interviews with people experiencing CP and 46 interviews with those living with RA-associated pain were analyzed. Our analysis uncovered three broad strategies adopted by participants: body management, mind-management and mind-body management. The analysis demonstrated that for those living with pain, a sense of well-being is achieved not through pain control alone, but also through various mind/body techniques for managing pain, accepting new limits, and adjusting the way people relate to themselves. These self-management strategies are an important adjunct to biomedical care for those experiencing chronic pain.