Occupational Therapy Program Can Improve Fibromyalgia Patients’ Lives, USC Study Finds

Occupational Therapy Program Can Improve Fibromyalgia Patients’ Lives, USC Study Finds
An occupational therapy intervention program can improve the quality of life, confidence and functional abilities of people with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions, according to a study featured in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. By involving patients in frequent interactions with occupational therapists who guide them, researchers aim for patients to gain motivation, identify solutions, and build healthy habits. The intervention, called Lifestyle Redesign, is the invention of researchers at University of Southern California (USC) Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. “Having quantitative evidence for occupational therapy’s effectiveness in chronic pain management is really valuable,” Ashley Uyeshiro Simon, OTD, the study’s lead author and an assistant clinical professor at USC, said in a USC news release written by Mike McNulty. Simon developed the program together with colleague Chantelle Collins, also an associate clinical professor at USC. In the program, patient and therapist work together exploring weekly topics that might focus on physical activity, body mechanics, or preparing a plan, and for when pain strikes. In addition to fibromyalgia, people with lumbar back pain, complex regional pain syndrome, and other forms of myalgia were included in the program. “These types of diagnoses are long-term, difficult to manage and can’t just be fixed quickly,” said Simon. “It’s in these types
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2 comments

  1. Gryfalcon says:

    “…scored higher in satisfaction assessments after trying the program.” In other words, there was no objective measure. Smile a lot and make your patients feel pampered and they will “score” their “satisfaction” with your “treatment” higher because they are getting all that love and attention. But, does it actually WORK? Be warned, these types of research seem benign and warm and fuzzy, but they are used by governments to deny long term disability claims and to attempt to force patients into treatment protocols that do not work. It is important to use objective measures in research, because bad science is worse then no science at all.

    • Magdalena Kegel says:

      Hi Gryfalcon,

      Assessing pain and social or physical functioning is no easy task. There are, however, validated tools to do so. The research team used outcome measures included the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure, the 36-Item Short-Form Survey, the Brief Pain Inventory, and the Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire to assess patients. These are all validated tools that can provide objective evidence of a program’s efficiency in attaining it’s goals.

      On top of this, patients reported on their perception of fatigue, general health, confidence, and satisfaction with the program. These are, naturally, not objective measures, but add to the findings of the study.

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