Chronic Pain Conditions That May Benefit From Occupational Therapy


What is an occupational therapist?

The role of an occupational therapist, or OT, is to help individuals maintain independence by teaching them ways to modify everyday tasks and activities that they can no longer do or have difficulty completing on their own. This could be due to certain conditions, such as autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, traumatic injury, stroke, etc. An OT can help individuals learn how to use assistive technology, learn different ways to complete tasks, suggest safety measures for the home, and train caregivers. Some OT’s help with cognitive aspects of daily life, such as helping with organization, routines, and problem-solving.

Chronic pain conditions that may benefit from occupational therapy

The need for occupational therapy is based on functioning levels rather than specific diagnoses. If chronic pain causes the loss of performing daily activities or reduced functional capacity, occupational therapy may be beneficial.

Occupational therapy can help those who have been impacted by chronic pain. Areas that OT can help include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The acquisition and safe use of mobility devices for those who have difficulty with mobility
  • Recommendations for adaptive equipment for the kitchen to decrease pain experienced with preparing meals, dental hygiene, assistive ideas for care in the bathroom, pencil grips, special zipper pulls, etc.
  • Methods of adapting actions and environments to minimize pain
  • Improved ways to sleep, organize, plan, socialize, etc.
  • Conserving energy with the use of tools, scheduling, sleep and nutrition
  • Utilizing resources, such as public transportation

Additional sources: Verywell Health and American Occupational Therapy Association