Acute and Chronic Pain Management with a Focus on Occupation

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Occupational therapy treatment of clients with pain is dependent on the client's personal experience, occupational background and functional status, diagnosis, symptoms, and duration of pain. Broadly, an occupational therapist seeks to understand the client's pain experience from its onset. Typically, acute pain can occur instantaneously and its duration can be from momentary to days, while chronic pain duration is much longer (Bracciano 2008). Acute pain is associated with inflammation, damage to surrounding tissue, and normal injury or disease process while chronic pain persists beyond usual healing time and can become a separate diagnosis (Bracciano 2008, National Institute of Neurological Disorders

Figure 15.2 Work simulation task during occupational therapy session.

Figure 15.2 Work simulation task during occupational therapy session.

and Stroke 2009, Rochman and Kennedy-Spaien 2007). Occupational therapists differentiate pain further into the categories of persistent, abnormal, and referred pain (Fedorczyk and Barbe 2002). The determination of the duration of the client's experience of pain has significant ramifications for treatment planning.

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