Osteoarthritis-related joint pain is prevalent and potentially disabling. United Kingdom clinical guidelines suggest that patients should be supported to self-manage in primary care settings. However, the processes and mechanisms that influence patient consultation decisions for joint pain are not comprehensively understood. We recruited participants (N = 22) from an existing longitudinal survey to take part in in-depth interviews and a diary study. We found that consultation decisions and illness actions were ongoing social processes. The need for and benefits of consulting were weighed against the value of consuming the time of a professional who was considered an expert. We suggest that how general practitioners manage consultations influences patient actions and is part of a broader process of defining the utility and moral worth of consulting. Recognizing these factors will improve self-management support and consultation outcomes.
- health care, users'
- musculoskeletal disorders