Persistent Pain

Persistent pain (also called chronic pain), is pain that last longer than the normal healing time. Often this is considered to be pain that last longer than three months. There are numerous persistent pain conditions, including fibromyalgia, lower back pain, migraines, neuropathies, and complex regional pain syndrome. Some persistent pain condition arise from injuries, or underlying health conditions. For other conditions, it might be difficult to ascertain the underlying cause. There is no doubt however that persistent pain can have a big impact on what you are able to do, and this is where occupational therapists can help.

Our occupational therapists can provide a thorough understanding of the impact that pain has on a person’s usual daily functioning. We use occupational therapy tools such as the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure to asses areas of self-care, productivity (work/study) and leisure. We may also objectively assess a person’s ability to perform tasks in many environments, such as at home or work, not just in a clinic.

Following this our occupational Therapists work with people and sometimes their family/carers. We focus on minimising pain, and enabling participation in meaningful activities. Our treatments are relevant to chronic pain in a range of specialist areas not just specifically pain management, but also palliative care, neurological rehabilitation, mental health rehabilitation and occupational (work) rehabilitation. Some of the interventions we may use include:

  1. Neuroscience based pain education
  2. Functional goal setting
  3. Sensory integration/ processing / modulation
  4. Sensory Re-education
  5. Provision of assistive devices to support function
  6. Creation of daily routines to support the adaption of habits and roles
  7. Incorporating psychology based techniques into daily occupations to support pain management such as: goal setting, acceptance and commitment therapy, cognitive restructuring, distraction, relaxation, grief and loss support and mindfulness strategies.
  8. Incorporating current neuroscience evidence into occupational therapy approaches. This includes use of graded motor imagery, body schema distortion, pain empathy, cognitive impairment secondary to pain, effects of poor sleep and medication.
  9. Use of biofeedback techniques to support improved awareness of activity performance. This may include use of mirrors, EMG biofeedback machines, heart rate monitors, activity monitors, Apps and diaries.
  10. Provision of chronic disease self-management approaches such as: joint protection, back care, ergonomic principles d. sleep hygiene, e. energy conservation, pacing education/ self-regulation, flare up management, intimacy and sexuality
  11. Reintegration to work and productive roles.
  12. Reintegration to schooling and study from high school through to university level education.
  13. Community integration – safe access to the community and services, including driving, public transport use and computer use
  14. Facilitate health literacy and advocacy to enable people to explore, locate and access services within their local community that support their mental and physical health.
  15. Interactive neurostimulation.

COVID-19 Update

We hope you are safe and well, and coping with all the changes to our lives that have occurred due to COVID-19.  We would like to let you know that we are here to support you, and are continuing to provide occupational therapy services. We have temporarily ceased any clinic-based consultations in order to reduce any risk to our clients and our staff. All of our staff are now currently working from home.  Our preference is to provide OT services as much as possible via telehealth.  This means either telephone or online consultations.  This is the best way to still provide services and remove any risk of infection.  We understand however, that for some of our clients, this is neither suitable or possible. Where telehealth is not appropriate, and an occupational therapy service is essential, we are continuing to see clients in their homes or in the community. We do this with all the physical distancing and hygiene precautions in place.
We will contact you prior to your appointment to see if it is possible for us to provide your service via telehealth. If it is not possible and we are planning to come to your home, please let us know if you or anyone in your household are unwell with any symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever, cough or sore throat.
We care very much about our clients and staff and we would like to reassure you that we are doing our best to keep surfaces and our hands clean and will maintain a safe physical distance during home visits.  This means we will not shake hands when we greet you, and will only use direct hands on contact when essential.

If you are well and we come to see you at home or in the community, please:

  • Maintain a 1.5 metre physical distance where possible.
  • Wash or sanitise your hands before and after appointments where possible.
  • If you need to cough or sneeze, please use a tissue and dispose of it or cover your mouth and nose with your elbow.
  • Refrain from having additional family members/carers with you if possible as the less people in contact with everyone the better.
We know that at this time some of our clients may be finding it particularly difficult with increased isolation, anxiety or a reduction in their usual supports and services.  We would like you to know that if this applies to you, please reach out to us to ask for help, and we will try our best to help you access the support you need.

We sincerely appreciate your understanding of the above. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.  

Best Wishes
The Lifeworks Occupational Therapy Team