Given that chronic pain affects one in five Australians and a third of people aged over 65, chances are that if you’re an allied health professional, you will likely deal with a large number of chronic pain patients. In the past, clinical treatment often focused on applying knowledge solely from one discipline; however it’s now increasingly evident that a more integrated, multi-disciplinary approach helps to deliver the most positive results for patients managing chronic pain.
The shift away from a biological model of pain — where pain is looked upon simply as a sensory response to a specific injury — means that chronic pain management is now being approached as collaborative effort, with Physiotherapists, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists and other allied health clinicians banding together to deliver a tailored suite of treatment options to patients.
And where pharmaceutical and surgical interventions once dominated, we’re now seeing patients increasingly treated through a range of approaches; from stretching and hydrotherapy to meditation, CBT and clinical pilates – with excellent results.
It’s now widely understood that aside from the physical experience of acute and chronic pain, the associated psychological and social implications significantly add to the challenges and complexity of the patient’s experience of their condition, as well as their readiness to engage in best practice treatment.
Some of the unexpected practical considerations that your patients might be grappling with could include:
• Anxiety and depression, loss of motivation
• Stress due to relationship issues, financial strain
• Feelings of worthlessness and lack of meaning (particularly if the pain condition has led to reduced function)
• Social issues such as isolation and loneliness, a perceived loss of status and the stigma attached to being incapacitated
• Loss of strength and muscle tone, weight gain, loss of balance
• Problems with digestion and elimination due to immobilisation or lack of proper exercise.
For clinicians nowadays, having the knowledge to offer patients a range of support options for the issues they’re facing (i.e. social, emotional etc.) makes good sense, and usually results in better treatment outcomes – particularly if offered in collaboration with other allied health colleagues.
Here at Innovative Rehab, we draw on our team’s expertise and skills in the areas of Psychology, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy to develop effective rehab solutions, and we’re really good at helping other clinicians – from any discipline – to develop effective, multi-disciplinary treatment plans for their patients. We offer direct consultation and regular training workshops.
Consider joining one of our training workshops in 2014!
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