Results of new research published in the journal BioMed Central Family Practice underscores the pivotal role that family members, particularly significant others (SOs) can play in helping patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMP) achieve better quality of life while managing their condition. There has been general clinical agreement that the pursuit of normal activities, including maintaining employment is beneficial for patients with CMP. In this study, based on assimilation of qualitative date from 2 examinations of patients with CMP and their significant others in the UK and the Netherlands, the authors conclude that positive interaction and encouragement from SOs can be of significant benefit in promoting healthy patient behaviors and maintaining life motivation.
The benefits of SO support coalesced around 3 main themes, according to the authors: connectivity, activity, and positivity. Among the study insights: SOs reported that maintaining communication about the pain and being a good listener seemed to help the patient cope. Even those pain patients who didn’t want to talk about their pain found great importance in their loved ones’ encouragement. Both patients and supporters found joint activities to be beneficial, for both encouragement in the activity itself, but also as a means of “just doing something” that had a tendency to carry over to other activities.
Watch an interview with Dr. Colleen M. Fitzgerald about women and musculoskeletal pain.
Read a news story about the findings in BioMed here.
The journal article may be read here.
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