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Chronic low back pain in general practice: the challenge of the consultation

Chronic low back pain in general practice: the challenge of the consultation
Chronic low back pain in general practice: the challenge of the consultation
Background: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is a symptom commonly presented to GPs, accounting for a significant proportion of their workload. It is also a common reason for sickness absence, and thus of national economic importance.

Objectives: This qualitative study aimed to provide an understanding of how GPs understood CLBP, how they approached the consultation with CLBP patients and how they conceptualized the management of this problem.

Method: Qualitative research techniques were employed. Twenty GPs working in North-West England were interviewed. Interviews were semi-structured and recorded on audio-tape. Transcripts of these interviews were then subjected to constant comparative qualitative analysis.

Results: Subjects described their difficulties in responding to and managing CLBP. They acknowledged the link between CLBP and psychological distress, and that it legitimizes long-standing illness behaviour. They were pessimistic about the chances for successful cure or palliation of CLBP.

Conclusion: Subjects seemed to be cognisant of collusion between doctor and patient, in cases where the patient's explanatory model of back pain is not challenged. We argue that this can be accounted for by the patient operating within a physical model of pain causation, while doctors operate using a model that stresses psychosocial factors. The incommensurability of these models lies at the root of the CLBP consultation as a problem.
chronic low back pain, doctor–patient relationship, illness behaviour, sickness absence
0263-2136
46-49
Chew-Graham, Carolyn
530beade-2b1c-4eea-846f-1fcef0585ca5
May, Carl
17697f8d-98f6-40d3-9cc0-022f04009ae4
Chew-Graham, Carolyn
530beade-2b1c-4eea-846f-1fcef0585ca5
May, Carl
17697f8d-98f6-40d3-9cc0-022f04009ae4

Chew-Graham, Carolyn and May, Carl (1999) Chronic low back pain in general practice: the challenge of the consultation. Family Practice, 16 (1), 46-49. (doi:10.1093/fampra/16.1.46).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is a symptom commonly presented to GPs, accounting for a significant proportion of their workload. It is also a common reason for sickness absence, and thus of national economic importance.

Objectives: This qualitative study aimed to provide an understanding of how GPs understood CLBP, how they approached the consultation with CLBP patients and how they conceptualized the management of this problem.

Method: Qualitative research techniques were employed. Twenty GPs working in North-West England were interviewed. Interviews were semi-structured and recorded on audio-tape. Transcripts of these interviews were then subjected to constant comparative qualitative analysis.

Results: Subjects described their difficulties in responding to and managing CLBP. They acknowledged the link between CLBP and psychological distress, and that it legitimizes long-standing illness behaviour. They were pessimistic about the chances for successful cure or palliation of CLBP.

Conclusion: Subjects seemed to be cognisant of collusion between doctor and patient, in cases where the patient's explanatory model of back pain is not challenged. We argue that this can be accounted for by the patient operating within a physical model of pain causation, while doctors operate using a model that stresses psychosocial factors. The incommensurability of these models lies at the root of the CLBP consultation as a problem.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: February 1999
Keywords: chronic low back pain, doctor–patient relationship, illness behaviour, sickness absence

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 163653
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/163653
ISSN: 0263-2136
PURE UUID: 8cb6f606-c356-40f5-ba61-3acdda06fc39
ORCID for Carl May: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0451-2690

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 15 Sep 2010 09:29
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:41

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