Medications used to manage chronic pain have documented side effects including drug dependency, drug interaction, and adverse systemic reactions. This case study used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to understand how one individual experienced chronic neck pain including pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions. Convenience sampling identified Ms. P, an individual with a 10-year history of chronic pain. The research questions were: “How does one individual with chronic neck pain describe their experience living with neck pain?” and “How does one individual with chronic neck pain manage their pain?” Three super-ordinate themes emerged: pain pervades everything, finding relief, and recovery. Findings suggest that living with chronic pain is framed by both the experience of severe pain and the search for a cure. Fear, panic, and despair accompany ongoing pain. Initially, the participant’s physician prescribed medications including narcotics, which are described as a slippery slope. In desperation, the participant sought alternative treatments.


Pain, Phenomenology, Interpretative Phenomenology Analysis Chronic Pain, Neck Pain, Acupuncture, Laser Therapy, Massage, Ultrasound, Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Winkler is an Occupational Therapist, Supervisory Research Health Science Specialist, and Co-Director of the VA Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) Post-doctoral Fellow Program at the James A Haley VA Hospital Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (CINDRR) in Tampa. Florida. Dr. Winkler's research focus is on increasing access to rehabilitation using technology. Her qualitative interest is how patients' experience healthcare. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to Sandra.winkler@va.gov.

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