Persons who experience chronic pain have reported the "life changing" (Fisher et al. 2007) characteristic of its presence and changes in their relationships (Fisher et al. 2007), quality of life (Fisher et al. 2007, Neville-Jan 2003), ability to function (Fisher et al. 2007, Neville-Jan 2003), and psychological well-being (Fisher et al. 2007, Neville-Jan 2003). Within the context of chronic pain, occupational therapy offers treatment interventions intended to facilitate clients' adaptation to pain and enhancement in functional engagement, physically and psychologically. To address this, many occupational therapists implement a biopsy-chosocial foundation that also includes "behavioral, cognitive-affective, and environmental factors (Bracciano 2008)." Due to the holistic nature of treatment, occupational therapy is an important partner on the multidisciplinary pain management team.
Occupational therapy intervention approaches the individual client from a holistic perspective, focusing on the overall functioning and adaptability of the client to be able to manage those daily tasks and occupations that they find valuable and meaningful. Following a comprehensive evaluation, occupational therapy works with the client to identify areas of difficulty and the occupations and routines that are the most meaningful to the client. Based on the findings of the evaluation and the collaboration process, a comprehensive intervention plan is developed. Occupational therapy interventions focus on providing the client with the resources and skills to be able to effectively manage his/her pain and engage in the activities/occupations that are meaningful and productive. Research supports using a multidisciplinary approach and the biopsychosocial model in pain management (Guzman et al. 2007, Turk 2002). Supporting the biopsychosocial model, occupational therapy interventions can be grouped into areas that impact an individual's ability to successfully engage; these include physical management, psychosocial management, and environment/contextual adaptations (Table 15.3).
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