Men and women’s stories about chronic pain (completed)

Stories of illness communicate individual experiences associated with illness.  While individual stories are personal and unique, they are at the same time informed by culturally norms and values.  Thus, stories of illness also express cultural ideal and social norms of being a man and a woman.


About the project

Chronic pain without any visual lesion in the body contradicts bio-medicine’s categorization and diagnosis. Thus, people who suffer from medically unexplained chronic pain work hard to gain social status as ‘real’ patients.  They are often caught in a limbo - between being not 'really' sick and unable to work and enjoy a social life.

Chronic pain is usually associated with many different approaches to healing, physiotherapy being one of them.


To gain knowledge about how cultural ideals of gender are embedded in patients’ stories of chronic pain and how gender may influence the patient’s experience of being in treatment. 


Data collection has ended.  Analysis is in progress.  One article has been submitted.


Our study draws on constructivist theory, in which chronic pain and gender are understood as experienced, relational and cultural phenomena. The material consists of interviews with men and women with chronic pain, who are in treatment for that reason.


Norwegian Fund for Post-Graduate Training in Physiotherapy.

Start - Finish

8.04.2008 – 7.4.2012

Published Mar. 30, 2011 6:56 PM - Last modified June 24, 2014 9:56 AM