Aims: To understand the experiences of patients diagnosed with chronic facial pain (CFP) who attended a specialist facial pain management program (PMP); specifically, to explore how they experienced attending the facial PMP itself and how they felt it impacted their management of CFP.
Keywords: chronic facial pain, chronic pain, focus groups, pain management, pain management programme, qualitative, thematic analysis
Methods: Qualitative methodology and focus groups were used to gather patients’ views and experiences of attending a facial PMP. Two focus groups were conducted for patients who had all completed the facial PMP. Discussions were recorded and transcribed. Data were then analyzed using thematic analysis to establish key themes relating to participants’ experiences of the facial PMP.
Results: Thematic analysis identified three main themes, with numerous subthemes within them. The theme “psychologic change” had subthemes of self-compassion, acceptance, and reflection. The theme “behavioral change” contained subthemes of re-engagement with valued activity, medication, and communication. The theme “structure and process” contained subthemes of concentration, need for one-on-one time with the clinician, meeting others, and not enough time (clinical and nonclinical).
Conclusion: Facial PMPs may provide a valuable treatment to support long-term coping and adaptation for patients with CFP. Positive changes to coping include both psychologic and behavioral elements. Further research is necessary to clarify how group-based facial PMPs should be structured and delivered. J