A cultural framework for pain management: understanding traditional cultural values in Hispanic patients with chronic pain and limited English proficiency
Objective: In the United States, Hispanics face additional barriers to accurate pain management due to language and cultural differences. One way to address pain disparities among Hispanic patients is to further investigate the role of cultural values that influence chronic pain management. The aim of this study was to to obtain patients’ perspectives and deepen our understanding of the cultural beliefs influencing the pain management decisions of Hispanics with low acculturation and limited English proficiency who turn to Federally Health Qualified Centers (FQHCs) for healthcare services. Methods: The sample included 24 (17 females and 7 males) Spanish-speaking patients with chronic pain. Participants participated in a focus group or key-informant interview and shared about their pain management needs and factors influencing how they experience, report, and treat their chronic pain. Descriptive data on pain and mood variables were also collected to inform how this unique population compares to the original norms reported in the pain literature. Results: Across all interviews, patients’ reported preference for self-care practices, non-invasive medical treatments and reported negative attitudes towards pain medications. Beliefs about pain relief and finding the cure for chronic pain significantly affected their expectations about medical visits. Satisfaction with healthcare providers was highly influenced by patients’ expectations and preference for personal, warm, and friendly interactions. This study also highlights the emphasis of family needs over individual needs and how this prioritization prevented participants from expressing pain behaviors and seeking care. Conclusion: The implications of our findings suggest that patients’ unfamiliarity with mainstream treatment options for chronic pain may shape their expectations and satisfaction with medical visits.