The pain self-management paradox: Why do we focus on the individual when life-context plays such a major role?

Rodham, K. (2021) The pain self-management paradox: Why do we focus on the individual when life-context plays such a major role? Pain Management, 11 (3). ISSN 1758-1869

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• The numbers of people living with long-term conditions (including persistent pain) are increasing. Add to this,
the years of decreasing investment in our health system and it is not so surprising that the search for a solution
has led to the idea that people with chronic conditions should play a more active role in managing their
conditions. This has translated into ‘self-management’.

• Typically, self-management involves the individual living with persistent pain taking responsibility for managing
their condition. However, their ability to do so is not entirely under their own control. Typically self-management
does not explicitly take into account the wider society in which we live, our financial and social capital (or lack
thereof), or our health literacy. In other words, it ignores a person’s wider life context.

Possible solutions
• A refocus, away from the current central focus on the self, toward collaboration (collaborment), incorporating
understanding of life context and focusing on living well with, rather than managing persistent pain.

Future perspective
• We need to be working toward a relationship between health professionals and people living with pain which is
a meeting between equals who have come together to pool resources in order to solve a problem. We need to
ensure that the notion of collaboration is built into the health professional training programs and move away
from the traditional ‘health-professional-knows-best’ approach. We need to lobby and ensure that pain is a core
part of all health professional training. Service providers need to move away from negative views of people with
long term conditions, instead viewing them as collaborators who contribute to the solutions for their health

Publication Type: Articles
Uncontrolled Keywords: blame, collaborment, persistent pain, self-management
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Education, Social and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Karen Rodham
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2021 13:46
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2021 13:46

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