Pain Self-Management Strategies of Chronic Back Pain Sufferers in Thailand: A Qualitative Study (A Doctoral Project)

Petcharat Rujipong1, *, Kannika Kantaruksa2, Nonglak Chaloumsuk2, Chanchai Yothayai3
1 Department of Adult and Elderly Nursing, Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Nursing, Chiang Mai University, Thailand
3 Department of Surgical Nursing, Chiang Mai University Thailand

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© 2021 Rujipong et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Srinakharinwirot University, Adult and Elderly Nursing, 63 Moo 7, Ongkharak subdistrict, Ongkharak district, Nakhon Nayok Province 26120, Thailand; Tel: +6695 698 7719; E-mail:



Chronic low back pain is among the most common chronic musculoskeletal disorders worldwide. It is prevalent in Thailand, affecting up to 30% of the general population, with much higher rates among manual labourers. Pain self-management, including education, exercise, medication and other components, is an effective strategy for reducing pain intensity and disability rates for chronic low back pain sufferers.


To investigate pain self-management strategies among chronic lower back pain sufferers in Thailand.


The study design was a qualitative interview-based technique. The study setting was an orthopaedic outpatient department at a university hospital in Northern Thailand. Participants (n = 19) were selected based on recruitment criteria, and data was collected using demographic forms and in-depth interviews. Thematic analysis was used for qualitative analysis, with Wilcoxon signed-rank test used to assess changes in pain levels.


Participants used a combination of pain self-management modalities, including exercise, modified food consumption, increased rest, herbal treatments, hot and cold compression, Thai massage, and acupressure, along with psychological and spiritual coping tools like meditation and making merit. Ability to use these interventions was dependent on medical support from practitioners as well as social and other support. A small, but significant, mean difference in pain was also observed.


Findings point to the possibility that there are significant cultural differences in pain self-management modalities and their effectiveness.

Keywords: Pain self-management, Self-management, Self-management strategy, Chronic back pain, Low back pain, Qualitative research.