(HealthDay News) — For individuals with HIV and chronic pain, various pain self-management strategies are employed, including physical activity, cognitive and spiritual strategies, and substance use, according to a study published online Feb. 3 in Pain Medicine.

Noting that chronic pain is common in individuals with HIV, Jessica S. Merlin, M.D., M.B.A., from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues conducted a thematic analysis of qualitative data from 25 interviews with individuals with HIV and chronic pain.

The researchers found that physical activity; cognitive and spiritual strategies; spending time with family and friends and social support; avoidance of physical/social activity; medication-centric pain management; and substance use were cited by participants as the primary pain self-management strategies.

“Some of these strategies may be viewed as beneficial and overlap with known HIV self-management strategies (cognitive strategies), whereas others may have negative health consequences (substance use),” the authors write. “Interventions that incorporate healthy self-management strategies may be particularly effective in improving both HIV and pain outcomes.”

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