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Dealing with doubt. How patients account for non-specific chronic low back pain

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Carl May


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OBJECTIVE: To explore the ways that persons with long standing chronic low back pain respond to the problem of medical doubt about the presence of organic pathology. METHOD: Qualitative analysis of accounts provided by 12 persons attending a back pain rehabilitation clinic in NW England. RESULTS: Subjects rejected the notion that they were culpable for their pain. They were not culpable for the onset of their pain. They argued that despite their cooperation, no sensible explanation of their pain was forthcoming from health professionals. Finally, they asserted that medical scepticism had been damaging and dispiriting. CONCLUSION: Patients dealt with clinical doubt by stressing their own expertise. They constituted their beliefs about the cause and trajectory of their pain and disability as accurate accounts of their disability. They resisted the suggestion that there might be psychological factors involved in their ill-health by locating culpability among clinicians, who were confused or uncertain about diagnosis and treatment

Publication metadata

Author(s): May CR, Rose MJ, Johnstone FC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Psychosomatic Research

Year: 2000

Volume: 49

Issue: 4

Pages: 223-225

ISSN (print): 0022-3999

ISSN (electronic): 1879-1360

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/S0022-3999(00)00168-9

Notes: TY - JOUR Unique Identifier: 11119777 RP - IN FILE


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