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Pain Management - Occupational Therapists

Occupational Therapists (OTs) are health and social care professionals who help people of all ages carry out the occupations (activities) they need or want to do, but are prevented from doing as a result of physical or mental illness, disability, or the effects of aging.

In the Pain Clinic, Occupational Therapists focus on helping people to improve their ability to perform the activities that are important to them, despite their pain and/or fatigue. These activities may include family activities, personal care, household tasks, leisure, education and work.

How can Occupational Therapy help me?

Being in pain can affect your ability to do the things you want to, or need to do. Not being able to do the activities that you value can lead to frustration, stress and low mood. In addition, it can also affect other areas of life including relationships, housing, work and finances.

Occupational Therapists work with people who have chronic pain to help them understand their condition and to develop more effective ways of coping with and managing their pain.

Occupational Therapists can help you to:

  • Understand your pain and its effects on you.
  • Discover ways of doing activities to make them less painful.
  • Develop ways of coping better with pain and stress.
  • Learn strategies to improve your sleep.
  • Change the environment to help manage home and work activities better.
  • Stay at or return to work or education.
  • Access the help you need in areas including housing and finances.

The Occupational Therapist is based in the Pain Clinic but may also carry out visits to people’s homes, schools or workplaces. As an alternative to face-to-face appointments, the Occupational Therapists may provide support via telephone or video. The Occupational Therapists also run a group programme for people with fibromyalgia. Your preferences for the way your therapy is provided will be discussed with you.

How do I access Occupational Therapy?

You will be referred to Occupational Therapy by another member of the Pain Clinic team if they feel it would be useful for you. They will give you a leaflet about Occupational Therapy and you will be advised to contact a number to request to be put on the waiting list if you wish to proceed. You can also request to be referred to Occupational Therapy when you see another member of the team, if you feel it would help.

What can I expect?

Your appointment will normally be up to 45 minutes. Your first appointment with an Occupational Therapist will involve them getting to know you and how your pain is affecting your daily life. They will want to find out what is important to you and will then discuss with you what they can do to help. They will then agree with you the plan for moving forward and the number sessions this might take.

Preparing for your appointment

When you first speak to the Occupational Therapist they will ask you about how your pain is affecting your daily life and the things you want to improve.

It will be helpful if you would think about this before you come to the appointment.