Wheelchair use, pain and quality of life

Complex interaction explored


. . .

Wheelchair users identity and self-perception, interpersonal relationships and the experience of pain and its management all combine in a complex interaction to determine an individual’s quality of life experience.



This study investigated how wheelchair-using individuals with paraplegia and chronic pain make sense of the factors associated with quality of life based on interviews using photo-elicitation and interpretative phenomenological analysis.


Three superordinate themes emerged in the analysis:

  • experiencing quality of life through the perception of self and identity
  • interpersonal relationships as facilitators and barriers to quality of life and
  • life in a wheelchair: pain experience and management.


Quality of life for those living with paraplegia and chronic pain is experienced as a complex interaction across several life domains. The use of photographs may improve the communication of pain-related experiences and understanding by healthcare staff.


SOURCE: J Health Psychol. 2017 Dec 1:1359105317750254. doi: 10.1177/1359105317750254. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 29284303


‘I am free in my wheelchair but pain does have a say in it though’: The meaning and experience of quality of life when living with paraplegia and chronic pain.


Hughes M1, Burton AE1, Dempsey RC1.

1 Staffordshire University, UK.

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