Living with long-lasting pain – patients’ experiences of neuropathic pain

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Abstract

Living with long-lasting pain – patients’ experiences of neuropathic pain

Aim.

The aim of this study was to describe the lived experiences of patients with neuropathic pain.

Background.

An estimated 132 000 (1·5%) Swedes are affected by some form of neuropathic pain, but the exact prevalence is uncertain. Neuropathic pain is a syndrome that is often under-diagnosed. Earlier studies focusing on the experience of neuropathic pain show that it has a huge impact on life and that pain-related limitations result in social withdrawal.

Conclusions.

The present study contributes to nursing knowledge by presenting a picture of living with neuropathic pain. It confirms earlier data which found that living with neuropathic pain often brings major changes in a person’s way of life, influencing daily activities and social life. The findings indicate the importance of being met with empathy and a positive attitude from healthcare professionals and pointed out the negative impact on a patient’s trust when healthcare professionals question them about the pain. The findings confirm that feelings of loneliness and vulnerability emerged when patients were not met with trust.

Relevance for clinical practice.

The findings are clinically relevant for nurses and other healthcare professionals, because they provide information on the patients’ symptoms and the strategies they use to deal with neuropathic pain on a daily basis. The current study indicates that more attention must be placed on the healthcare professionals’ attitude when meeting patients living with neuropathic pain. The findings highlight that professional and positive encounters between healthcare staff and patients should be emphasised, as a part of nursing education and in clinical practice, as this has a profound effect on the patient’s trust in care.

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