• chronic pain;
  • meaningful life;
  • narrative;
  • nursing

Dysvik E, Sommerseth R, Jacobsen FF. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2011; 17: 36–42

Living a meaningful life with chronic pain from a nursing perspective. Narrative approach to a case story

This paper is a case story discussing the experience of chronic pain from the perspective of the sufferer and suggests ways of improving the use of this perspective in nursing care. A narrative approach is adopted and the analysis was based on content analysis. A condensation of meaning-units revealed a variation in subthemes: the body in pain, striving to preserve self and self-fulfilment. The extent to which living a meaningful life is possible seems to depend on several complex factors, including a person's belief system, life experiences, personal resources, the meaning of pain and the extent to which nurses understand the overall situation. This story might indicate that nociceptive pain can be less important than pain that reduces long-term life quality. A better understanding of living with chronic pain based on cognitive–behavioural techniques could be linked to the information drawn from the narrative and used to improve nursing practice.