The goal of pain management is to help the patient return to the highest level of function and independence possible, while improving the overall quality of life - physically, emotionally and socially. Rehabilitation is a key element in helping patients return to their normal lives. Used alone or in conjunction with other pain management approaches, rehabilitation therapies can assist in reducing the suffering experienced by a person with chronic pain.
In order to help reach these goals, rehabilitative pain management programs are customized to each patient. They may include the following:
- Physical therapy to teach proper body mechanics and improve strength, flexibility, and endurance.
- A functional capacity evaluation to determine work ability and assess needs for further patient conditioning.
- Coping-skills training to teach stress reduction, interpersonal skills, and reduce the use of illness as a way of coping.
- Education to teach the causes of pain and the behaviors that are likely to make it better or worse.
- Psychotherapy to reduce depression, anxiety, anger or other emotions which increase pain.
- Vocational counseling to assist re-entry into the job market.
- Occupational therapy to improve performance of tasks at home and at work.
Rehabilitation therapies help doctors find a holistic solution to pain management that can reduce the dependence on drug and procedure therapies.