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Occupational Therapy for Chronic Pain Management Using the Biopsychosocial Approach: A Review of the Clinical and Cost-Effectiveness and Guidelines

Last updated: August 4, 2017
Project Number: RC0902-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Devices and Systems
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report

Question

  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of occupational therapy using a biopsychosocial approach to manage chronic pain?
  2. What is the cost-effectiveness of occupational therapy using a biopsychosocial approach to manage chronic pain?
  3. What are the evidence-based guidelines regarding occupational therapy using a biopsychosocial approach to manage chronic pain?

Key Message

The findings of a systematic review of patients with chronic low back pain show that multidisciplinary biopsychosocial rehabilitation interventions seem to be more effective than usual care (which generally involved pain medication and physical treatment) or physical treatments in decreasing pain and disability; multidisciplinary rehabilitation seems to be more effective than physical treatment in work absenteeism but not more effective than usual care. Based on evidence from two prospective non-randomized studies in patients with chronic pain and chronic musculoskeletal pain, a multimodal psychosocial approach may have a better effect on pain, disability, depression and different domains of life satisfaction compared with usual care or no treatment. There was no evidence found on the cost effectiveness of, and the evidence-based guidelines for, occupational therapy using a biopsychosocial approach to manage chronic pain.