Pain is commonly experienced by people with disabilities. The relationship between pain and participation was explored by researchers at RTC: Rural to see if pain acted as a barrier to people’s ability to participate fully in community life. The concept of participation and understanding the barriers that hinder it is important. Just as inaccessible buildings and transportation can interfere with employment, errands and engaging in social activities, pain can also keep people at home. Understanding the multiple barriers that interfere with participation for people with disabilities is crucial to developing meaningful policies and community change.
In the pain and participation study, researchers surveyed 525 individuals. Most participants reported some kind of impairment and, as a whole, reported their average pain as 4.68 on a scale of 1-10. The survey also explored how people thought about their pain as well as how they coped with it.
Pain thinking was evaluated using a Pain Catastrophizing Scale to learn how the thoughts people had about their pain influenced how they handled it. Pain coping was evaluated by asking people to identify their strategies for managing pain including ignoring it, resting and asking for help.
As data from this project on pain interference patterns continues to come in, RTC: Rural will post updates on the research and what we learn.