Seeking support: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of an Internet message board for people with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Psychol Health. 2009 Jul;24(6):619-34. doi: 10.1080/08870440802563245.


In this article, we report on the findings of a qualitative inquiry into how an online message board for people who have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) was used by its members. All messages (and responses) posted on the CRPS message board over a 4-month period were collected retrospectively. The data were analysed using the method of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Members used the message board to seek (and provide) support to those with CRPS, and also to express their emotions, feelings and experiences linked to their condition. The message board provided an important source of support for a patient group that can otherwise become isolated as a result of their mobility problems. Furthermore, the analysis revealed the unrealistic hopes that patients can hold concerning the anticipated outcomes of their treatment. This is an important issue for healthcare professionals to explicitly address when interacting with the patient group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Blogging*
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Social Support*