The experience of living with persistent pain

J Adv Nurs. 1998 Dec;28(6):1242-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1998.00843.x.


This article reports themes from a descriptive exploratory study conducted with 17 persons who live with persistent pain. The purpose of the research was to enhance understanding of what it is like to live with persistent pain from the perspectives of those who live the experience. Participant narratives of living with persistent pain included descriptions of physical pain as well as the pain of loss and restriction. The theory of human becoming provided the framework for guiding researcher-participant discussions and interpretation of findings. Three themes arose from the analysis: forbearance surfaces with the drain of persistent anguish; isolating retreats coexist with comforting engagements; and hope for relief clarifies priorities for daily living. The findings expand understanding about quality of life for persons who live with persistent pain. They also challenge nurses to begin focusing on the person who lives with pain as the messenger of how to endure. Recommendations, based on new understanding, are offered for practice and additional research.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Human Development
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Theory
  • Pain / nursing
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires