Managing Chronic Pain with Occupational Therapy
Chronic pain is wildly prevalent in the United States, with one in four Americans experiencing symptoms of some form of persistent pain. Living with chronic pain is debilitating as it affects social engagement, ability to work, sleep, mental health, and one’s ability to accomplish simple everyday tasks.
The best practice approach, according to research, is the use of an interdisciplinary team utilizing the biopsychosocial model to address all facets related to the pain experience. Occupational therapy is a significant part of the interdisciplinary team, as the role of an occupational therapist is to assess a person’s performance deficits in daily tasks, identify which activities are valued by this individual, and work together to create adaptive ways to empower this individual to accomplish personal and meaningful goals.
In research-based treatment, an occupational therapist can help an individual take control of the activities in their lives once again. An occupational therapist can help a person understand pain, through the many facets of the biopsychosocial model, and educate on the perspective to have with pain when accomplishing tasks. Addressing specified modifications to one’s schedule and implementation of pacing can maximize return to engagement in everyday activities and minimize social isolation. Education is also provided for safe body movement guidelines, sleep routine management, mental and physical relaxation strategies, and tools to increase ease during task participation.
In working with occupational therapy to manage long-term pain, as part of the interdisciplinary team, the overarching goal will be to achieve independence with meaningful routine tasks and satisfaction with increased ease during the performance of these tasks.
Meet the Generation Care Occupational Therapy Team: