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Volume 22 , Issue 4
Fall 2008

Pages 349–358


Nonspecific Chronic Orofacial Pain: Studying Patient Experiences and Perspectives with a Qualitative Approach

Eva Wolf, PhD/Pirjo Birgerstam, PhD/Maria Nilner, PhD/Kerstin Petersson, PhD


PMID: 19090408

Aims: To analyze the nonspecific chronic orofacial pain patient’s experience of the pain condition and to gain knowledge on the complexity of the problem. Methods: Fourteen patients (11 female, 3 male) aged 21 to 77 years were selected among those referred to a specialist clinic. All selected patients agreed to participate. Data were obtained through thematic in-depth interviews that exposed the context of the orofacial pain condition. The 2 interviews with each patient were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. The text material was analyzed using a qualitative research strategy based on phenomenology. Results: The essence of the chronic orofacial pain was expressed by the patients as something that eludes perception and comprehension. The pain was difficult to grasp and to communicate. The consequence of the pain was experienced by the patients as to be stricken by the pain and was expressed as living a life permeated by hopelessness, resignation, and a lack of faith. Conclusion: The patients in this study experienced their chronic orofacial pain to have no limits and to repressively permeate all aspects of their existence: social, practical, and emotional. J Orofac Pain 2008;22:349–358

Key words: chronic pain, facial pain, pain consequence, patient perspective, qualitative research


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