Postoperative pain relief is especially challenging in chronic pain patients. Some of these patients are already using strong analgesics, including opioids, before surgery, and may have markedly increased opioid requirements after surgery. In addition, they often need special psychological attention. Only few studies have, however, focused on the patients’ perspectives. The aim of this study was to describe self-reported experiences of inadequate pain relief after surgery in a group of chronic pain patients. Eight patients with chronic pain who had reported having experienced inadequate pain relief after surgery were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide 1–2 weeks after discharge from hospital. Meaning condensation and interpretation were used in the analysis according to the approach of Kvale and Brinkmann. Three major themes emerged from the condensation and interpretation of the natural meaning units: 1) distrust towards the patient, 2) disrespect towards the patient, and 3) lack of knowledge about pain treatment among health care professionals. Our findings indicate a lack of knowledge of pain management in chronic pain patients. Special training of health care professionals is required in order to improve pain relief after surgery and, ultimately, patient satisfaction and quality of care in this vulnerable group of patients.

Keywords: chronic pain, opioid tolerance, patient experience, postoperative pain