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Table 2 Example of the qualitative content analysis based on the women’s experiences of the journey to CWP

From: Women’s experiences of the journey to chronic widespread pain: a qualitative study

Meaning unit Condensed meaning unit Code Subcategory Category
The pain I have in my hips and shoulders and so on, them I have got gradually because of my job … // My work is very physically demanding … [3] The pain arose because of my job, which is physically demanding. Physically demanding work triggers the pain Unmanageable work-related demands Experiencing that environmental circumstances affect the pain journey
“… if you hadn’t believed what I said and I had left here with a feeling of no I could see that she didn’t believe me at all, and if you had been a doctor, then that increases my pain and I become sad and everything is built up inside” [17] Everything is built up from within and if someone doesn’t believe me, I become sad and then the pain is aggravated. Mistrust aggravates the pain Lack of social support  
“It’s the worst for me in the summer when it’s hot, then it feels as though my joints are burning” [12] The pain is at its worst in the summer when it is hot. Hot weather aggravates the pain Unfavorable physical environments  
“… then I lost my husband two and a half years ago, and then I realized that I was really depressed because it was difficult but then there is the mental stress as I felt like shit and had a lot of pain … so it’s not just heavy work it’s the mental aspect that affects the pain also” [6] When my husband passed away, I felt mentally ill and stressed, which aggravated the pain. Heartache aggravates the pain Traumatic events  
(reason for back problems) “I’ve been sitting down too much .. Sitting down too much and not training enough.” [4] The pain arose because I was too physically inactive. Inactivity triggers the pain Different levels of
physical efforts
Experiencing that lifestyle affects the pain journey
“… and I think that it’s because I haven’t dealt with the pain, instead I’ve just thought that it will pass, it will get better …” [6] The pain has remained as I haven’t dealt with it. Neglecting consolidates the pain Unfavorable behavior  
“Then if I get more worried or like this when it, yes if I just think about the children and things like that, if I say the grandchildren and when it’s something with them and I get stressed, then I get more tense and then feel more pain in my shoulders and my back …” [11] When I worry about people dear to me the pain is aggravated. Worries aggravate the pain Anxious state of mind Experiencing that personal attributes affect the pain journey
“… it started sometime in my 40s, because then I identified myself with older colleagues who were in pain then … I told them that, aha, now it starts on me and then it was probably a knee or something that wasn’t working properly.” [1] The pain started in my 40s, when I began to identify myself with older colleagues who were in pain. Age triggers the pain Adverse biological impact