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.

Original publication




Journal article


Qual Health Res

Publication Date





1037 - 1049


Adaptation, Psychological, Adult, Aged, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Chronic Disease, Female, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Male, Middle Aged, Mind-Body Therapies, Pain, Qualitative Research, Self Care