Living and doing with chronic pain: clients' and therapists' perspective

Document Type


Publication details

Van Huet, H, Stancliffe, R, Innes, E & Beltran, R 2011, 'Living and doing with chronic pain: clients' and therapists' perspective', paper presented to Occupational Therapy Australia 24th National Conference & Exhibition, Gold Coast Convention Centre, 28 June - 1 July.

Abstract in Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, vol. 58, supp. 1, p. 45.


Peer Reviewed



Introduction: Chronic pain within the Australian context has been noted to be third only to cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal conditions in terms of health expenditure (Access Economics, November 2007). Chronic pain programs have existed for more than 20 years, but how effective are they at providing long-term management for participants?

Objectives: The primary objective of this research was to: (i) Identify what predicts long-term pain management from pain program participants’ and occupational therapists’ perspectives.

Methods: This doctoral research using qualitative methods sought the perspectives of 15 past participants of a chronic pain program (18+ months post program) and nine occupational therapists working in chronic pain practice settings. In-depth interviews with a narrative focus were conducted to explore the factors that predicted long-term management. Analysis of the data was interpretive and inductive and identified themes common to both past pain program participants and therapists.

Results: Common themes that arose from the data included ‘being ready’, ‘accepting pain’, ‘having valued roles’, ‘doing everyday things’, and ‘having ongoing support’. Additionally behavioural methods and adaptive strategies used in pain programs were critiqued by both groups.

Practice Implications: This research contributes to the evidence base of occupational therapy by: (i) Providing evidence that occupational therapists are aware of what factors influence chronic pain for their clients; (ii) Reinforcing the need for occupational therapists to measure the outcomes of their interventions both subjectively and objectively using latest chronic pain theories and methods

Conclusion: Findings from the research support strategy use and engagement in meaningful occupations and roles as critical to ongoing pain management.

Additional information

Abstract in Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, vol. 58, supp. 1, p. 45.

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