Relief for Chronic Pain: PT & OT Address Core Issues

Relief for Chronic Pain: PT & OT Address Core Issues

April 6, 2023


Individuals grappling with chronic pain can find relief through the expert guidance of physical and occupational therapists. It is crucial to recognize that chronic pain is not merely a symptom but an indication of underlying issues within the body or lifestyle. Thus, physical and occupational therapy practitioners collaborate with other healthcare professionals to identify and address these root causes effectively.

Chronic pain can be severely limiting, hampering one’s ability to perform daily tasks, work efficiently, and sleep soundly. This can lead to decreased productivity and challenges in completing everyday activities, such as cooking or cleaning. It is essential to acknowledge the efforts of those with chronic pain who strive to maintain normalcy amidst their struggles with depression or anxiety resulting from their condition.

Physical and occupational therapy target the core issues behind chronic pain by addressing the physical, behavioral, and emotional aspects associated with the ailment. Both therapies aim to improve overall health and well-being, equipping individuals with the necessary tools to manage their pain effectively.

Developing a Comprehensive Treatment Plan

Physical and occupational therapists collaborate to create a tailored treatment plan to alleviate chronic pain. This plan incorporates exercise, core strengthening, and flexibility exercises to enhance overall health. Physical therapists educate patients on proper body mechanics, posture, and movement techniques while recommending specific exercises or equipment to improve mobility and minimize discomfort. Occupational therapists assist patients in adapting their daily routines to accommodate their medical conditions without exacerbating their pain (e.g., balancing work and family responsibilities).

Assessing Overall Health for Optimal Treatment

Therapists thoroughly evaluate a patient’s overall health to determine the most suitable treatment options. This assessment includes the patient’s medical history, current medications, general health, goals, and lifestyle preferences. Treatment approaches may vary from therapeutic exercises or heat packs for one patient to massage therapy or cold packs for another. Occupational therapists also provide guidance on how to perform daily tasks without aggravating the condition (e.g., maintaining proper posture at a desk).

The Benefits of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy enables patients to move and sleep better, enhancing their overall well-being and allowing them to enjoy life more fully. Physical therapists focus on optimizing body function during everyday activities, such as walking or sitting for extended periods. They teach new movement techniques and strengthen weakened muscles due to chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia or back pain. Furthermore, they recommend safe exercises for individuals experiencing chronic pain who wish to remain active in their daily lives.

The Role of Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy assists patients in adapting to life changes to prevent adverse impacts on their health and daily functioning. By employing the principles of occupation, environment, and activity, occupational therapists help individuals achieve the highest level of independence possible. They cater to a diverse range of patients, including those with developmental disabilities, chronic illnesses, post-surgery recovery, seniors requiring assistance with daily activities, children with sensory processing disorders, and adults with learning disabilities.

Targeting Symptoms and Root Causes

Physical and occupational therapists address not only the symptoms of chronic pain but also its underlying causes. They assist patients in managing their pain, enhancing mobility, reducing physical and mental stress, and improving overall quality of life.


Seeking treatment is vital for those suffering from chronic pain. Physical and occupational therapists possess the expertise required to help patients make life adjustments that alleviate symptoms. By examining the physical, behavioral, and emotional aspects of each patient’s condition, therapists can develop a highly effective, individualized treatment plan.