Exploring the Pain Experience of Chinese Elderly Patients with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain and Multimorbidity in Primary Care: A Qualitative Study using a Grounded Theory Approach


Winky Law(1), Deng Xue(2), Sibei Lin(3), Yeut Hoi Wong(4), Regina Sit(5*)

(1) The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care,The Chinese University of Hong Kong
(2) The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care,The Chinese University of Hong Kong
(3) The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care,The Chinese University of Hong Kong
(4) The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
(5) The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care,The Chinese University of Hong Kong
(*) Corresponding Author


Background: Chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMSP) is common in older people with multimorbidity (MM). Given the complex etiology of CMSP, it is worthwhile to explore the meanings attached to an individual and its interaction with MM. The study aimed to explore the meanings underneath the experience of CMSP and MM, to generate new insight on the support of pain management in the elderly population.  

Methods: 20 eligible subjects aged between 65 and 80 were recruited through purposive sampling. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted, with data transcript, coded and analyzed using grounded theory approach.

Results: Quotes evolved on the interaction between CMSP and MM, with participants expressed worries of pain may affect disease control. Three themes emerged which included the impact of CMSP on the physical and psychosocial well-being among the elderly with MM, the barriers to pain care in the community, and the perception and strategies on pain management.

Conclusions: Older people with CMSP and MM were suffering from a significant physical and psychological impact on their well-being. Self-care remains a preferred adjunct in pain management; support should be strengthened at individual (education) and community (urban development) level.


chronic pain; grounded theory; multimorbidity; musculoskeletal pain; primary care; qualitative

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22146/apfmj.47316

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