Occupational Therapy for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Occupational therapy is an integral component of care for people suffering from complex regional pain syndrome. Whether the patient is in a hospital, at home or working at their job, their occupational therapist will create a plan that allows them to live as independently and comfortably as possible.
The occupational therapist (OT) will assess which activities of daily living the patient is unable to complete or requires assistance with, such as dressing, grooming, cooking and bathing. They then teach the patient how to complete those tasks using normal movement patterns and coping strategies.
Psychoeducation on effective self-management techniques, coping tools and social support for chronic pain is provided in either one-on-one or small group settings. The therapist works with the patient to set goals and help them reach those objectives within their timeframes; providing them with a strong foundation to manage symptoms of chronic pain in daily life.
Physical and occupational therapies are usually the first line of treatment for complex regional pain syndrome, depending on the severity and location of symptoms. These may include manual therapy, spinal stabilization, neuromuscular re-training and exercise/stretching techniques.
This form of treatment is administered by a certified therapist and uses light touch to improve the functioning of the body’s craniosacral system. By relieving restrictions, adhesions, and blockages within this network, natural healing can take place more easily.
Additionally, exercise can help to reduce sensitivity to painful sensations, improve balance and coordination, build strength and flexibility within the body and promote sleep.
Occupational therapists may employ breathing techniques and stress management to treat the psychological effects of chronic pain. They can assist a patient in dealing with their emotions by increasing confidence, independence and self-worth while teaching them new ways to manage their symptoms more effectively.
The goal of this type of treatment is to get patients back doing what they enjoy doing most in life. Occupational therapists may provide exercises that build strength, boost confidence and enhance quality of life for individuals.
Counseling is an integral component of treating complex regional pain syndrome, helping to alleviate depression and anxiety. A therapist will educate the patient on self-esteem building techniques such as positive thinking and affirmations. Furthermore, they may teach them breathing techniques and stress management tactics for managing symptoms.
In addition to rehabilitative and psychological interventions, medications are sometimes used for the treatment of complex regional pain syndrome. These can include anti-inflammatories, corticosteroids, drugs used to treat seizures or depression and opioids.
Occupational therapists frequently collaborate with physicians to create a treatment plan tailored to each patient. During this conversation, the therapist can address any other medical or psychiatric issues present in treating complex regional pain syndrome, helping ensure the patient gets all necessary treatments at once.