Chronic Pain

130,000,000+ Americans suffer from chronic, or reoccurring, pain.

Chronic pain involves both physical and psychological problems that affect whether a person can participate in important activities every day. Pain can impede a person’s strength, coordination, and independence as well as impose stress that can lead to depression.

With help from Occupational Therapy, chronic pain can be managed along with the physical and psychological effects and lead active and productive lives. Many people with chronic pain have already gone through some type of treatment through medication, surgery, heat, cold, nerve stimulation, and massage. What the majority of patients have not learned is that managing daily activities and lifestyle together can attribute to successful, long-term coping with pain.

What can an Occupational Therapist do?

  • Identify specific activities, behaviors and movements that cause pain and provide alternative solutions.
  • Teach methods for decreasing the frequency and duration of painful episodes.
  • Implement therapy interventions that can possibly decrease dependence on or use of pain medications completely.
  • Facilitate the development of better function for daily activities at work and home.
  • Collaborate with the client’s team of health care professionals, such as physicians, physical therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists, to determine the best course of treatment and intervention.
  • Recommend and teach the client how to use adaptive equipment that decrease pain while performing individual tasks such as reaching, dressing, bathing, and performing chores around the house.

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What can a person with chronic pain do?

  • Develop new habits and practice a lifestyle based on wellness, which includes plenty of rest, exercise, healthy nutrition, and maintaining a positive attitude.
  • Practice techniques that decrease the intensity of pain.
  • Organize a daily routine with personal pain management goals, such as eliminating or modifying activities that use a lot of energy and implementing body mechanics that move the body in ways that are less likely to aggravate pain.
  • Exercise to increase strength, flexibility, overall health and reduce pain.
  • Practice relaxation techniques that calm the mind and reduce tensions that make the pain worse.

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Need more information?

Chronic pain is a serious problem that shouldn’t go untreated. If you would like to consult an Occupational Therapist about pain management, practitioners are available through most hospitals, community clinics, and medical centers.

Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy assistants are trained in helping both adults and children with a broad range of physical, developmental, and psychological conditions. Practitioners also help clients in wellness techniques that assist in the prevention of injury and disease.

 Links:
AOTA.org

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