Striving for control and acceptance to feel well : experiences of living with migraine and attending physical therapy

Sammanfattning: The overall aim of this doctoral thesis was to describe and develop an understanding ofpersons’ experiences of living with migraine and managing their lives to feel well, andto elucidate their experiences of physical therapy. Qualitative, narrative interviews (IIV)were conducted with individuals to explore and describe their experiences ofliving with migraine. The persons with migraine were asked to draw a picture of theirexperiences to support their narration and the interview continued after the drawingwas complete (II, III). To interpret the meaning of living with migraine, the transcribedtext was analyzed using a hermeneutical-phenomenological approach (I, II, IV), andthe interviews were analyzed using qualitative content analysis (IV) to describe theexperiences of acupuncture.The findings show that living with migraine meant living with the uncertaintyabout having an attack and striving to control the migraines (I, II, IV). To increasetheir sense of control, the persons with migraine tried to identify and manage theirmigraine triggers and they tried to find effective ways of alleviating the attacks (I, II).They also attempted to amplify the good things in life, which increased both theirsense of control and their well-being (II). Living with migraine meant living with thefear of being misunderstood and doubted. When persons with migraine made peacewith being afflicted, they received an inner sense of security from which they couldview more possibilities than limitations in life (I, II). When the person with migraineattended physical therapy, they invested their time and energy towards feeling well,and it was important that the intervention rewarded their effort with increased health.The interaction with the physical therapist was an important aspect of physicaltherapy. The persons with migraine emphasized the need to be trusted and to receiveindividual attention, and they also wanted to feel confident in their physical therapist(III, IV).In conclusion, knowledge about the meaning of living with migraine isimportant for physical therapists and other healthcare professionals who encounterpersons with migraine. By listening to persons’ experiences of migraine, their abilityto control their migraine, their acceptance of their migraine and their general sense ofwell-being, new possibilities for individually adapted interventions and empoweringactions can be revealed. In addition, physical therapists should consider the need fortrust and confidence as important aspects of treating persons with migraine to improvetheir practice.