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According to a number of recent studies, the prevalence of pain in the American population ranges from 2% to 40%, with an average of 15%. But the cost of pain extends beyond physical debilitation to include lost productivity, medical expenses and psychological risk factors. Despite health professionals’ increased appreciation of pain and their attempts to improve its assessment and treatment, pain continues to be difficult to identify and treat. Furthermore, women, minority populations, clients with addictions, and older adults are likely to be underserved when it comes to adequate pain management.
Although occupational therapists frequently work with clients who are experiencing pain, occupational therapy educational programs often do not specifically educate practitioners about pain diagnoses and how to treat pain within the scope of occupational therapy practice. The occupational therapist’s foundational knowledge of activity analysis and environmental adaptation is a valuable asset in treating pain. However, with a more detailed knowledge of pain, occupational therapists can be more effective when working with a variety of clients, groups, and populations.
This basic-level course elaborates on the definition of pain and its perception, factors hampering pain management, assessment of a client for pain, and occupational therapy interventions to improve function in clients with pain. The goal of this course is to enhance the confidence and skills of the occupational therapist working with clients who have pain, and to advocate for the occupational therapist’s role on pain management teams.
AOTA Content Focus - OT Process - Evaluation, Intervention
- Identify appropriate measures to assess pain.
- Describe two difficult-to-diagnose pain conditions.
- Summarize the different mechanisms of pain relief, including considerations for older adults and pain management challenges.
- Describe the multidisciplinary team approach to treating pain.
- Identify OT interventions used with clients with pain.
- Describe the role of mind/body techniques in managing pain.
Susan McNulty, OTD, OTR/L, CPE, received her master’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2004 and practiced in community and inpatient mental health settings in the United States and Ireland from 2004 to 2009. In 2010, she completed her doctorate of occupational therapy (OTD) at USC with a focus on pain management and chronic daily headaches. While at USC, Dr. McNulty created and ran a unique headache prevention program called Lifestyle Redesign® for Chronic Headaches in collaboration with the USC Department of Neurology. From 2010 to 2014, she was an adjunct assistant professor of clinical occupational therapy within the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and participated as a member of the USC pain team and head and face pain team with the USC University Hospital. She received her certification as a pain educator through the American Society of Pain Educators in 2013. Dr. McNulty is currently an instructor in the master’s of occupational therapy program at the University of St. Augustine in San Marcos, CA.
- Courses must be completed within one (1) year of the date of purchase.
- You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
- Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that the course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
- All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.
- There are no prerequisites for this course.