The role of the internet for people with chronic pain: Examples from the DIPEx international project
© The British Pain Society 2014. In this article we consider how people with chronic illness are using the internet, drawing on examples from published qualitative interview studies of experiences of chronic pain in the UK, Germany and Israel. Extracts from the interviews can be seen on the websites from the www.dipexinternational.org collaboration which publishes analyses and many thousands of video and audio interview clips on country specific web platforms. The UK branch of the collaboration has been operating for over a decade and currently includes broad based samples of qualitative interviews with patients about their experiences of over 80 health problems. The research has demonstrated that people living with chronic pain are increasingly using the web to find information, support and practical advice for self-management and also for reassurance, encouragement, to compare experiences of treatment and to offer advice and support to others. The internet is changing the way that people are experiencing illness, although access to relevant and reliable online material is not equally distributed. Those who do not speak one of the handful of dominant languages are less likely to find online experiences that resonate with their own.