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Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine (IBME)

Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain: Everyday experiences of an invisible disability

In Switzerland, chronic pain affects about 16 percent of the population. Therefore, it is increasingly understood as a public health challenge. Even if chronic pain is widespread, it is difficult to diagnose and challenging to treat, also due to its invisibility. Therefore, people with chronic pain regularly report that they do not feel taken seriously by doctors; that the medical discourse every so often legitimizes their pain by psychosomatic explanations. In an attempt to escape this, chronic pain patients are in search for a reason for their suffering, while trying to find a way of dealing with it in everyday life. Pain management takes up a large part of their days – at least temporarily, while others may just bite through it to “forget about the pain” for a single joyful moment, even though the pain may come back all the stronger.

To better understand how people with chronic pain experience their everyday lives, how they perceive their relationship towards medical doctors, and how they cope with their condition in all-day situations like work and family life, the present project takes a qualitative approach. It thereby contributes to the evidence base around illness narratives on chronic pain to raise the awareness among health care professionals about the challenging and disabling condition and the needs of chronic pain patients. 

Involved DIPEx Researchers