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The University of Southampton

Research project: Patients’ experiences of self-management interventions for chronic widespread pain including fibromyalgia: A systematic review and thematic synthesis (CWP Qualitative Review)

Currently Active: 

Pain that occurs across multiple parts of the body and lasts for more than three months is common. Referred to as ‘chronic widespread pain’, this type of pain can affect up to 15% of the general population. It often leads to low mood, limits what people can do, and reduces peoples’ quality of life.

A recent review of research suggested that self-management interventions can be effective for reducing the impact of chronic widespread pain. These courses often contain a mixture of physical activity guidance alongside educational and psychological support. However, this review highlighted that it is important to know more about how these interventions worked, and why they might not work for some people.  

We plan to review research on peoples’ experiences of attending and taking part in similar courses to help manage their pain. Bringing together this type of research will help us understand how these types of interventions might work, and why they might be less effective for some people.  We will search for studies reporting these experiences on electronic databases. Once they have been selected as matching our criteria, we will review them applying a process called ‘thematic synthesis’. In this process the studies are read together, and common ideas are identified as themes. These themes can then be used to develop new ideas for how these courses have an effect on the attendee’s pain and what they are able to do.  

We will use the results of our review to support the development of interventions for chronic widespread pain, that can be widely accessed through primary care.

Lead Investigator(s)Dr Adam Geraghty

Co-applicants: Prof Miriam Santer, Prof Hazel Everitt, Prof Paul Little, Prof Michael Moore, Dr Hannah Bowers, Dr Xiao-Yang (Mio) Hu

Collaborators: Prof Tamar Pincus, Dr Cathy Price, Linda Leigh and Jenny Magee

Funder: NIHR School for Primary Care Research

Duration: 1 May 2022-31 October 2022

Contact: Dr Adam Geraghty 


Research theme

Supporting self-management 

Content area

Long-term conditions

This study is being conducted by the Primary Care Research Centre.


Related research groups

Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education
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