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Pain experiences and intrapersonal change among patients with chronic non-cancer pain after using a pain diary: a mixed-methods study

Authors Charoenpol F, Tontisirin N, Leerapan B, Seangrung R, Finlayson RJ

Received 1 September 2018

Accepted for publication 22 November 2018

Published 23 January 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 477—487


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael A Überall

Fa-ngam Charoenpol,1 Nuj Tontisirin,2 Borwornsom Leerapan,3 Rattaphol Seangrung,2 Roderick J Finlayson4

1Department of Anesthesiology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand; 2Department of Anesthesiology, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand; 3Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand; 4Department of Anesthesia, Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

Objective: Pain diaries are a valuable self-assessment tool; however, their use in chronic non-cancer pain has received limited attention. In this study, we examined the effect of pain diary use on pain intensity, interference, and intrapersonal change in patients with chronic non-cancer pain.
Method: A convergent mixed-methods design was used to prospectively evaluate a cohort of 72 patients. Daily pain intensity and weekly pain-interference were self-reported using pain diaries for a 4-week period. Outcomes were assessed by examining changes in pain scores (primary outcome) as well as the Brief Pain Inventory and Short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire-2. In addition, qualitative data obtained from pain diary entries and focus-group interviews were analyzed using thematic content analysis.
Results: Pain intensity and average pain scores were significantly lower after using the diaries. Participants reported less pain interference in mood, walking ability, normal work, and enjoyment of life. No differences were found in SF-MPQ-2 scores. Qualitative analysis indicated that better pain recognition and more effective communication with care providers led to improved self-management and more effectual treatment plans.
Conclusion: Use of a pain diary in patients with chronic non-cancer pain was associated with reduced pain intensity and improved mood as well as function. Further controlled trials examining the long-term effects of pain diaries are warranted.

Keywords: pain diary, chronic non-cancer pain, pain experience, interpersonal change, mixed-methods research

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