Participant Perspectives on Benefits and Challenges of Engaging in an Online Pain Self-Management Program

Participant Perspectives on Benefits and Challenges of Engaging in an Online Pain Self-Management Program

Marian Wilson, Michele R. Shaw
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1680-5.ch007
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate participants' perspectives after engaging in an 8-week online pain self-management program. Unexplored qualitative data for this analysis were collected via secure online surveys distributed during a previously published randomized controlled trial. Participants for the present study were 47 adults prescribed opioid medicines for chronic pain. A qualitative descriptive approach using content analysis methods was used to identify common themes regarding online participation. Three themes described the benefits of the program and included: positive reframing, improved accountability, and feeling supported. Two themes described how participants would like to improve the program experience and included: ease of use and desire for personalizing. Participants' insights can assist health care providers and program developers in understanding how online programs may improve chronic disease self-management for a multitude of health problems.
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An estimated 25 million (11%) United States (U.S.) adults experience chronic pain, which may be defined as any pain lasting at least 3 months that does not respond to treatment (Nahin, 2015). More than half of those with chronic pain describe it as “unbearable” or “excruciating” (Kennedy et al., 2014). Behavioral and cognitive therapies have been well-established in research literature as effective components that can improve pain treatment outcomes (Macea et al., 2010; Eccleston, 2011). Yet, biopsychosocial multidimensional models of pain care are less commonly delivered, at least in some nations where pharmacological options are the predominant pain treatments (National Academies Press, 2011). Unfortunately, a reliance on a biomedical approach to pain care in the U.S. has resulted in a 600% rise in opioid prescriptions over the past decade (National Academies Press, 2011). Concurrently, deaths caused by opioid overdose increased 300% (CDC, 2014). The majority of deaths occur as an unintended consequence of legitimate prescribing practices (Manchikanti et al., 2012). Respiratory depression is the main hazard of opioid use (Dumas and Pollack, 2008). It can occur as a result of opioid tolerance that develops over time as more opioids are required to receive the same pain-relieving results (Dumas and Pollack, 2008). As scrutiny increases towards prescribing physicians and patients who receive opioids, a critical need exists to offer effective, affordable multidisciplinary treatment approaches that can be widely disseminated.

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