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OBJECTIVES: Neurogenic claudication (NC) causes pain and reduced mobility, particularly in older people, and can negatively affect mental and social well-being, so limiting successful ageing. This qualitative study explored how people with NC changed over 12 months. DESIGN: A longitudinal qualitative study using semi-structured interviews. SETTING: Participants were recruited from a UK clinical trial of a physiotherapy intervention for NC. PARTICIPANTS: Interviews were undertaken at baseline, 1 month after receiving any intervention and at 12 months. We analysed 30 sets of three interviews. RESULTS: Interview data were summarised for each time point into biopsychosocial domains: pain, mobility and activities of daily living, psychological impact, and social and recreational participation. Through comparative analysis we explored participant trajectories over time.Progressive improvement in at least one domain was experienced by 13 participants, but there was variability in trajectories with early improvements that remained the same, transient changes and no change also commonly observed.Eleven participants described co-present improvement trajectories in all domains. Three participants described co-present improvement in all domains except participation; one had never stopped their participation and two had unattainable expectations. Five participants described co-present improvement in one domain and deterioration in another and 14 participants described co-present no change in one domain and change in another.There was evidence of interaction between domains; for example, improved mobility led to improved participation and for some participants, specific factors influenced change. Of the 15 participants who experienced improved participation, 10 reported improvements in all other domains and five participants did not; for two, pain did not prevent participation, one used a walking aid and two had a positive psychological outlook. CONCLUSION: The daily lived experiences of older adults with NC are variable and include interaction between biopsychosocial domains. Therapist understanding of these trajectories and their interactions may help to provide personalised therapy TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN12698674.

Original publication




Journal article


Bmj open

Publication Date





back pain, qualitative research, rehabilitation medicine, spine, Activities of Daily Living, Aged, Back Pain, Chronic Pain, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Qualitative Research