OBJECTIVE: Small fiber neuropathy (SFN) is characterized by chronic neuropathic pain and autonomic dysfunction. Currently, symptomatic pharmacological treatment is often insufficient and frequently causes side effects. SFN patients have a reduced quality of life. However, little is known regarding whether psycho-social variables influence the development and maintenance of SFN-related disability and complaints. Additional knowledge may have consequences for the treatment of SFN. For example, factors such as thinking, feeling, and behavior are known to play roles in other chronic pain conditions. The aim of this study was to obtain further in-depth information about the experience of living with SFN and related chronic pain.

METHODS: Fifteen participants with idiopathic SFN participated in a prospective, semi-structured, qualitative, focus group interview study. The focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed cyclically after each interview.

RESULTS: The following main themes were identified: "pain appraisal", "coping", "social, work, and health environment", and "change in identity". Catastrophic thoughts and negative emotions were observed. Living with SFN resulted in daily limitations and reduced quality of life.

CONCLUSIONS: Given the results, it can be concluded that an optimal treatment should include biological, psychological, and social components.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of International Medical Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2022


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