Chronic musculoskeletal pain: Experiences of Somali women living in New Zealand

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Authors
Mursal, Fartuma
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Degree
Master of Osteopathy
Grantor
Unitec, Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology
Date
2023
Supervisors
Roy, Dianne
Hach, Sylvia
Type
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Keyword
New Zealand
Somali women in New Zealand
refugees
chronic pain
musculoskeletal pain
integration
pain management
Citation
Mursal, F. (2023). Chronic musculoskeletal pain: Experiences of Somali women living in New Zealand (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Osteopathy). Unitec, Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5974
Abstract
OBJECTIVES The purpose of this research project was twofold. First, this project aimed to explore the experiences of Somali refugee women residing in Auckland, New Zealand and living with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Second, the management strategies used by Somali refugee women for chronic pain and those suggested to them by healthcare practitioners were investigated. DESIGN This research project followed Interpretive Description (ID) methodology. The experiences of six Somali women living with chronic musculoskeletal pain were explored using semi-structured open-ended interviews. The interviews were recorded in Somali, translated and transcribed into English. Transcripts were analysed thematically. RESULTS Four main themes were identified. The first theme ‘living with pain’, described emotional responses and functional limitations associated with chronic pain, and attitudes towards pain. The second theme ‘living in New Zealand’, explored how the shift in cultural practices influenced pain. The third, ‘searching for pain relief’, described strategies including physical activity, manual therapy, and religious coping that the Somali women used to manage pain. Finally, ‘navigating the healthcare system’ encompassed the challenges in accessing healthcare services (e.g., language barrier; limited appointment time). CONCLUSION Pain impacted multiple aspects of Somali women’s lives causing physical limitations and psychological distress. Challenges of adapting to a new culture compounded the chronic pain experience. Religious coping strategies appeared to have a positive impact on the overall health and well-being of the women. Understanding the challenges pertaining to language and consultation times, as well as an awareness of the cultural practices, beliefs, and values (e.g., use of salat/prayer and Quran for pain management, concepts of modesty and privacy) is necessary to deliver the best possible care for Somali women
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