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"I could do it in my own time and when I really needed it": perceptions of online pain coping skills training for people with knee osteoarthritis.

  • Lawford, Belinda J1
  • Hinman, Rana S1
  • Nelligan, Rachel K1
  • Keefe, Francis2
  • Rini, Christine3, 4
  • Bennell, Kim L1
  • 1 Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 2 Duke Pain Prevention and Treatment Research Program, Duke Medical Centre, Durham, North Carolina, USA.
  • 3 John Theurer Cancer Center, Department of Biomedical Research, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, NJ.
  • 4 Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC.
Published Article
Arthritis care & research
Publication Date
Oct 18, 2019
DOI: 10.1002/acr.24093
PMID: 31628723


To qualitatively explore the perceptions and experiences of people with knee osteoarthritis (OA) who used an online automated pain coping skills training program (PCST). A descriptive qualitative study (based on interpretivist methodology) embedded within a randomised controlled trial. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 people with knee OA who had participated in an 8-week automated online PCST program while also receiving exercise advice and support from a physiotherapist via SkypeTM . Interviews in this study focused specifically on the online PCST program, rather than the physiotherapy component. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analysed. Five themes arose: 1) easy to understand and follow (clearly explained; presented well); 2) better able to cope with pain (controlling pain; helping relax; pacing self; incorporating skills into exercise program); 3) anonymity and flexibility (no judgement by clinician; work at own pace; accessibility); 4) not always relatable or engaging (some techniques not useful; Americanisation of the program; annoying character examples; time consuming and slow-paced); 5) support from clinician desirable (follow-up from a clinician would be beneficial; worked in tandem with physiotherapist-prescribed exercise; desire referral to the program by trusted source). People with knee OA had generally positive experiences using an online PCST program, suggesting that online PCST is a broadly acceptable and accessible way to help people with OA to manage their pain. User engagement may be enhanced by redesigning some aspects of the program, and provision of support from a clinician. © 2019, American College of Rheumatology.

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