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Aust Occup Ther J. 2011 Apr;58(2):74-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1630.2010.00889.x. Epub 2011 Mar 1.

Review of occupational therapy for people with chronic pain.

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1
Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Limerick, Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Castletroy, Limerick, Ireland. katie.robinson@ul.ie

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIM:

Chronic pain is a significant health-care problem. This review aims to critically analyse occupational therapy services for people with chronic pain and identify significant factors influencing the future development of occupational therapy services for people with chronic pain.

METHODS:

A broad range of literature is reviewed and analysed using causal layered analysis, a post-structural critical futures methodology. This layered analysis moves through four layers of analysis; the litany layer, the social causes layer, the worldview analysis layer and the grand myth and metaphor layer.

RESULTS:

This layered analysis revealed three significant factors shaping the future development of occupational therapy services for people with chronic pain: the influence of the biopsycho-social model within health-care services for people with chronic pain, occupational therapy philosophy and the social construction of people with chronic pain. Recommendations for future research and practice derived from this analysis include the need to research the effectiveness of occupation-based interventions for people with chronic pain, the significance of client-centred occupational therapy and valuing of clients' narratives to avoid pervasive negative social constructions of people with chronic pain influencing occupational therapy practice.

CONCLUSIONS:

This critical analysis has made occupational therapy services for people with chronic pain problematic in order to generate reflection, discussion and new insights. This analysis deconstructs contemporary occupational therapy philosophy and practice and therefore provides a new perspective on occupational therapy for people with chronic pain.

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