‘A long-term condition (LTC) is one that cannot currently be cured but can be controlled with the use of medication and/or other therapies’ (Department of Health, 2010). It is a condition of prolonged duration that may affect any aspect of any person’s life with symptoms coming and going but there is no cure (Long Term Medical Conditions Alliance (LMCA), 2007). Long-term pain has been reported to impact 70% of the population’s work ability, 80% of home life and 83% of the ability to take part in leisure activities (Patient and Client Council, 2014). There are currently 15.4 million people in England with a LTC, of which accounts for more than 50% of all GP appointments, 65% of ...view middle of the document...
The biopsychosocial model provides a systematic and conceptual means of studying the complexity of chronic pain, its development, continuation and points at which intervention may be most effective (Banks and Mackrodt, 2005) and making sense of patient’s psychological, emotional and social difficulties relating to the pain (Clyde and Williams, 2007). Appendix 1 shows Lucy’s biopsychosocial model related to her CLBP.
According to the recent report by the Patient and Client Council (2014), impact on everyday life has become the largest response of the study. LTCs have impacted patient’s daily life, limitations on lifestyle, quality of life, identity and relationships with family (Patient and Client Council, 2014). In Lucy’s case, her LTC has impacted her identity as she had to give up gymnastics, which was her life and she has found it very difficult. Besides that, her relationships with her friends have not turned out well. Lucy mentioned ‘Whilst I am still in touch with the girls, they have inevitably moved on and this was a very low period of my life’.
LUCY’S CURRENT COPING STRATEGIES
Pain is universal and complex and individuals react to their pain in complex ways (Banks and Mackrodt, 2005). As with any individual suffering pain, Lucy has adopted some coping strategies to help her overcome her chronic low back pain. Coping is not restricted to one dimension of functioning; it involves every dimension of human functioning in the cognitive, affective, behavioural and physiological aspects (Peres and Lucchetti, 2010). Coping with pain can be categorised into active strategies for relieving, controlling, or functioning with pain and passive strategies that include withdrawal, avoidance, and negative self-statements about pain (Kraaimaat and Evers, 2003). There are many other ways a person could apply adaptive coping styles to overcome their condition (refer to Appendix 2).
Emotional and psychological distresses are produced after an injury (Green and Weinberg, 2001) or in Lucy’s case, being diagnosed with CLBP and being forced to retire from gymnastics. Chronic injuries have shown a greater impact on self-esteem and coping responses compared to acute injuries (Wasley and Lox, 1998). Interestingly, evidence has shown a result of athletes’ desire to frame their past experiences in a positive light (Podlog and Eklund, 2005). Lucy has become involved with gymnastics governing body to promote gymnastics at a grass roots level. She mentions ‘as part of this role, I am trying to raise awareness of the female athlete triad and using my experience to help others’. This is seen as a form of acceptance that she has to live with the pain and she has adopted positive thinking that she can help others cope with the same problem.
ACCEPTANCE AS A COPING STRATEGY
Acceptance of persistent pain, being able to live a meaningful life with the pain without fighting it or seeking to be rid of it, is an area of increasing interest (Clyde and Williams, 2007). It is...