Pain Management

Practice Support

Pain Management

Occupational therapists work with individuals and their carers to provide a broad, holistic skill set to pain management that is sensitive to social, psychological, physical, cognitive, cultural, spiritual, life stage and environmental factors.

Interventions can be provided through single discipline services and in multi-disciplinary settings and are focused on decreasing pain states, increasing self-management, enabling occupational engagement and problem solving barriers to such engagement.

Occupational therapy interventions are relevant for acute and chronic pain states, and in a range of specialist areas not just confined to pain management, such as palliative care, neurological settings, mental health and occupational rehabilitation services.

Interventions are embedded in current evidence based practice and are subject to outcome evaluation with the aim of improved service delivery over time.


How occupational therapists can help with pain management

Interventions offered by occupational therapists include:

  1. Neuroscience based pain education for the individual and relevant family and relational supports.
  2. Functional goal setting that is lifespan appropriate and considers the person’s developmental stage, family, education and social contexts, and emotional, social, physical and cognitive capacities.
  3. Provision of a safe therapeutic space utilising flexible strategies to enable a person to engage in meaningful tasks that suit their life context, culture, development and occupation.
  4. Opportunities for self-management skills that can be incorporated into everyday life.
  5. Provision of activity management strategies, including activity pacing, and establishment of meaningful routines and habits.
  6. Assisting family members/carers to develop co-regulation strategies that support function. This may also involve the provision of family based group therapy in the paediatric setting.
  7. Sensory integration/processing/modulation techniques to assist the individual to self-organise their nervous system in order to optimise occupational performance and adaptation.
  8. Sensory re-education - providing graded sensory input though meaningful daily activities.


Pain Management Special Interest Group

The group is open to all OTA members who are already working in pain management or are interested in working in this area of healthcare.

Online Learning and CPD

Develop your skills and knowledge and earn continuing professional development points as part of your Ahpra registration with our CPD events and offerings.

Advocacy and awareness

National Pain Week 2023 Interview

To celebrate this year's National Pain Week, OTA's Manager of Professional Practice Michelle Oliver sat down with the University of Queensland's Professor Emeritus Jenny Strong and Dr Nicole Andrews to discuss the important, unique role of occupational therapy in chronic pain management.

Become a Member

Join the peak body representing the profession of occupational therapy in Australia.

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