Background Pain, stiffness, fatigue and sleep problems are the most important symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) patients. Among these symptoms, inflammatory back pain is a major symptom reported by all AS patients. Although there are various quantitative studies reporting that pain is one of the most serious and prevalent problems during the course of AS, there are no detailed qualitative studies on how pain affects the AS patients physically, socially, emotionally, and economically.
Objectives The aim of this study was to determine the pain experiences of patients with AS and the effect of pain on their lives by the method of direct interview.
Methods This qualitative case study included 23 patients with AS. The data was collected by using both a demographic data form and a semi-structured interview form. Each patient was interviewed face-to-face. The data obtained was evaluated using a content analysis method.
Results The data was analysed in 6 categories and 4 subcategories. The categories included the following: (1) pain as described by the patient, (2) the effect of pain on daily routine activities, (3) the effect of pain on social life, (4) the effect of pain on employment, (5) the effect of pain on family life, and (6) the emotional effects of pain. During periods of pain, patients indicated that they experienced difficulty in carrying out their daily routine activities and in meeting their personal needs. Pain also prevented them from fulfilling their responsibilities in the family, inhibited their social relations and caused trouble at their workplace. Due to the negative effects of pain in their lives, the patients felt helplessness, fear, stress, sadness, and unhappiness.
Conclusions Besides being asked about the quantity of pain, patients with AS should also be questioned on how pain affects their lives. Such an approach would guide the health care workers in planning and applying health care specific for each individual patient.
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Disclosure of Interest : None declared