Individuals with chronic pain face more than their fair share of obstacles. In addition to continual discomfort, they may also confront a lot of frustration, difficulty obtaining proper medications, and in some cases, the skepticism and suspicion of others.
Pain is infinitely complex, and Occupational Therapy practitioners understand its many dimensions. They also understand its subjectivity and respect a client’s self report. By evaluating the various physical, cognitive, and psychological elements simultaneously at play in someone with chronic pain, Occupational Therapy practitioners can help clients to cope with and manage their pain so they can accomplish the activities most important to them.
Over time, chronic pain leads to a sense of disempowerment, and the loss of control to engage in daily activities. Using a self-management approach, occupational therapy focuses on helping individuals participate in daily activities in adaptive ways. Through the occupational therapy process, specific performance problems in daily living are assessed, valued activities are identified, and evidence-based therapeutic approaches are used to address the client’s goals. Occupational therapy is a necessary and core component of any comprehensive pain rehabilitation program.
Additionally, Occupational Therapist may assist with Chronic Pain Management through implementation of:
Self-management includes actively maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including home exercise programs. These programs are specifically tailored to meet the needs of individual clients and include physical movement, daily relaxation or meditation practice, proactive use of pain control modalities, etc.
Chronic pain can be accompanied by psychological, cognitive, emotional, and/or physical difficulties. When appropriate, therapists may refer clients for additional services to facilitate best practice and optimal therapy outcomes.