Occupational therapy can play a vital role in supporting people with chronic pain to live a full life.
I recently had a fantastic visit to The Walton Centre’s Pain Management Programme Occupational Therapy team to hear about their work, in particular with young people and people aiming to get back into work.
The specialist neurosciences trust’s programme works with the Royal College of Occupational Therapists to support people with chronic pain to re-engage in a wide range of meaningful activities such as volunteer work, education, hobbies and paid work. The programme also has a Work and Employment Clinic.
There can be huge psychological and emotional demands of living with chronic pain. People with chronic pain on the programme attend a number of therapy sessions, ranging from target setting and activity management, to communication and mindfulness.
Crucially, occupational therapists work with people to address both physical and mental health needs, drawing on a whole-person approach to wellbeing that should be central to the overall approach of the NHS.
Many more people could benefit from occupational therapy, especially those living with chronic pain, who don’t feel like they can engage fully in society because of their condition.
However, the NHS is facing tight financial constraints.
It proved a really insightful day. This is a part of the NHS that cannot be overlooked.