'The Pain is Not Necessarily Less, But I Experience it Differently': A Qualitative Study About How People with Persistent Pain Experience Physiotherapy Care Blended with Biopsychosocial Digital Health

27 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2023

See all articles by Eva Poolman

Eva Poolman

VU University Amsterdam

Lukas Vorstermans

HAN University of Applied Sciences

Marianne Donker

VU University Amsterdam

Lisette Bijker

VU University Amsterdam

Michel W. Coppieters

Griffith University - Menzies Health Institute Queensland

Pim Cuijpers

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - Department of Clinical, Neuro and Developmental Psychology

Gwendolyne Scholten-Peeters

VU University Amsterdam

Leonore de Wit

VU University Amsterdam

Abstract

Background: A blended intervention consisting of face-to-face physiotherapy and psychologically-informed digital health was developed to optimise the management of people with persistent spinal pain who also have psychosocial risk factors associated with the development or maintenance of persistent pain. This study aimed to gain insights in how participants experienced this blended intervention.

Methods: An interpretative qualitative study using semi-structured interviews was conducted. Eleven people with persistent non-specific spinal pain who received the blended intervention within a randomised clinical trial were included. All interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed independently by two researchers. Data were analysed using a thematic inductive approach. 

Results: The analysis identified four themes: (1) Experiencing a better understanding of the relationship between own physical and mental health; (2) Importance of the physiotherapist’s active involvement in biopsychosocial blended care, which describes the crucial role of physiotherapists in supporting participants in this; (3) Appreciation of digital health, to better understand persistent pain and make meaningful lifestyle changes; and (4) Trials and triumphs, revealing gains such as better coping, but also challenges with implementation of changes into long-term routines.

Conclusion:  Participants of the blended intervention experienced positive changes in thoughts and behaviours, which highlights the feasibility and acceptability of the blended intervention as a more holistic treatment within pain management. The differences in personal preferences for receiving psychologically-informed digital health poses challenges for implementation of blended biopsychosocial care in evidence-based practice.

Note:
Funding Declaration: None

Conflicts of Interest: None

Ethical Approval: The trial was conducted according to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki (2013) and was approved by the Medical Ethical Committee (METC) of the VU Medical Centre Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2017.286). This qualitative study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences (VCWE 2021-129) of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. All participants provided written informed consent prior to participation.

Trial Registration: International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (NTR6122)

Keywords: Primary health care, low back pain, neck pain, pain education, behavioral activation, eHealth.

Suggested Citation

Poolman, Eva and Vorstermans, Lukas and Donker, Marianne and Bijker, Lisette and Coppieters, Michel W. and Cuijpers, Pim and Scholten-Peeters, Gwendolyne and de Wit, Leonore, 'The Pain is Not Necessarily Less, But I Experience it Differently': A Qualitative Study About How People with Persistent Pain Experience Physiotherapy Care Blended with Biopsychosocial Digital Health. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4623458 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4623458

Eva Poolman

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

Lukas Vorstermans

HAN University of Applied Sciences ( email )

Netherlands

Marianne Donker

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

Lisette Bijker

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

Michel W. Coppieters

Griffith University - Menzies Health Institute Queensland ( email )

170 Kessels Road
Nathan, Queensland QLD 4111
Australia

Pim Cuijpers

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - Department of Clinical, Neuro and Developmental Psychology

Gwendolyne Scholten-Peeters

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

Leonore De Wit (Contact Author)

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

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