Occupational therapy treatment

Occupational therapy treatment for Chronic Pain

What Makes Occupational Therapy Unique

You have chronic pain that impacts your daily life. While you may be on pain medications, for many individuals, that simply isn’t enough to fully regain their quality of life.

Enter the occupational therapist.

An OTs work is so much more than just managing the symptoms of pain. Unlike other modalities, the OT profession treats the entire person, as they are, and as they live in their daily environment.

So how can OT help you with chronic pain? Keep reading for a breakdown on how occupational therapy works and what to expect from treatment.

How Does Occupational Therapy Manage Pain

An occupational therapist uses various physical and cognitive methods to help improve your quality of life and complete day-to-day tasks. Most commonly, these include:

  • Making an initial assessment on which tasks are difficult or painful to perform 
  • Using knowledge of the mind and body to develop new ways of doing these tasks 
  • Working with individuals to teach them mental strategies to reduce and cope with pain 
  • Teach individuals how to use any necessary equipment to help in pain management 
  • Suggest changes to the work or home environment to make painful tasks a bit easier

This is the main difference, in fact, between occupational and physical therapy— occupational therapists work with more than just the body.

While a physical therapist will work solely with the physical moment of the body, occupation based therapy ensures a more holistic approach to solving the problem. This includes mental health care, learning new ways of navigating daily life, and learning how to cope with the physical and emotional struggles of chronic pain.

What to Expect

Let’s say that you are intending to try occupational therapy for low back pain. The following is an outline of what you can expect from an average course of treatment.

  1. You will meet with your OT professional and potentially an occupational therapy assistant. They will perform an evaluation and help you set treatment goals
  2. Normally taking place in a rehabilitation center, patients with chronic pain will take a course of 6-8 treatments. More are added if and when needed.
  3. Over the long term, you can continue working with your occupational therapist to determine any adjustments and new skills you may need for your chronic pain management

Everyone has unique needs when it comes to their pain. As such, we encourage you to speak with a pain management specialist to understand the treatment plan will best work for you.

A Holistic Approach to Healing

One of the main issues individuals with chronic pain face is the accusation of malingering. These accusations of being “dramatic” or “pretending” to be in pain are isolating for those who suffer and eventually take a social and mental toll when these comments persist.

In all fields of occupational therapy (and across all OT professionals) clients are met with calm, understanding, and empathy for their experiences. This alone can be a healing, resprative, and corrective experience some clients may not have had in other environments such as hospitals, schools, and even their immediate family.

When looking for pain management options, Arizona Pain and Spine prides ourselves in connecting patients with the right care providers to overcome their pain. To start your journey, contact us at (480) 986-7246 for more information and get on the path to discussing your next treatment options.