Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 410--415

Perspective of orthopedists on pain management in osteoarthritis: A qualitative study

1 Resident Medical Officer, Fatima Mission Hospital, Kerala, India
2 Department of Palliative Medicine, St. John's Medical College Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Shoba Nair
Department of Palliative Medicine, St. John's Medical College Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1075.191764

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Context: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disorder characterized by pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility of the joint. As the most prevalent form of arthritis and a leading cause of impairment, it is imperative to understand the treating doctor's perception of pain relief among these patients. Objectives: To assess orthopedists' perspectives on pain management in OA. Materials and Methods: In this qualitative study, a guide-based interview was conducted on 15 orthopedists of a tertiary care hospital and audio-recorded simultaneously. A grounded theory approach was adopted for data transcription with an inductive approach for thematic manual analysis. Results: Five themes emerged - (1) quality of life: OA produces significant disease burden causing severe impairment; (2) pain management: although patients usually demand immediate pain relief, a multipronged approach to treatment emphasizing on physiotherapy and surgery rather than analgesics is needed. Most participants preferred individual discretion while others felt the need for systematizing pain management; (3) precautions/side effects of treatment: paracetamol is often prescribed due to its better benefit − adversity profile as compared to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and weak opioids; (4) barriers: participants expressed several barriers to optimal pain management; (5) counseling: Participants concurred that counseling would improve patients' quality of life. Conclusions: Participants agreed that OA being associated with debilitating pain and impairment requires optimal pain management for improving patients' quality of life. As crucial as counseling is, it is often compromised due to the large outpatient load. The doctors concurred that a multi-disciplinary team approach is needed to integrate and optimize pain management in OA.


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