Many of the people we work with live with pain that is either continuous, or easily-triggered. Our occupational therapists have experience and post-graduate training in pain rehabilitation and management. A therapy program with an occupational therapist to address pain might include:
- Education: Learn about the neurophysiology of the pain response, your specific pain diagnosis, and non-medical approaches to managing pain.
- Functional goal setting: You set the goals for your therapy and the outcomes you want to achieve.
- Body mechanics and ergonomic training: You may be fearful of pain with movement and therefore avoid activities. Our Occupational Therapist can teach you safe body mechanics. With opportunities to practice and receive feedback, you can learn to safely perform basic activities of daily living, work, leisure, social, and community activities using techniques that reduce or prevent strain on body structures. Ergonomic assessments identify environmental factors that may be contributing to pain problems and that can be modified to improve function.
- Muscle tension reduction: Pain is a stressor on the body. Learning how to relax muscles and calm the mind is an important skill in reducing pain intensity.
- Communication skills: Chronic pain is an invisible disability. Assertive behaviour (for example, saying “no” or explaining your needs in a comfortable way) will allow you to live your life better.
- Pacing: Many people have problems regulating their activity. For those living with pain, this is a big problem – too much activity can lead to a flare up with more intense pain, that lasts for a longer time. Your occupational therapist can teach you how to pace your activity, by taking breaks before the pain starts, changing the way you do some activities, asking for help, or breaking down tasks into chunks that are manageable.