Coping with chronic complex regional pain syndrome: advice from patients for patients

Chronic Illn. 2013 Mar;9(1):29-42. doi: 10.1177/1742395312450178. Epub 2012 Jun 1.


Objective: To explore what advice people currently living with chronic complex regional pain syndrome would offer to another person coming to terms with a diagnosis of chronic complex regional pain syndrome.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews with 21 adults (5 male) living with chronic complex regional pain syndrome who had completed a complex regional pain syndrome rehabilitation programme were conducted.

Results: Effectively self-managing complex regional pain syndrome required individuals to play an active role. This could only be achieved if they felt they had sufficient control. Means of attaining control involved attaining a level of acceptance, becoming well-informed and accessing the right kind of support. The advice offered by patients for patients largely reflected that offered by healthcare professionals. One area where there was a conflict concerned sleep hygiene.

Conclusions: Our study provides support both for the argument put forward by Redman that without appropriate preparation and support, self-management is ineffective, and that by Skuladottir and Hallsdottir that the main challenge of the chronic pain trajectory is that of retaining a sense of control. The clinical implications of this are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Pain / psychology*
  • Chronic Pain / rehabilitation
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes / psychology*
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Management / methods
  • Pain Management / psychology*
  • Patient Participation
  • Self Care / methods
  • Self Care / psychology*
  • Self Efficacy