All osteopaths manage pain occurring straight after a physical injury to the body. Pain after an injury is known as acute pain. Acute pain lasts for up to three months.
Pain management osteopaths have further skills in managing long-term or persistent pain. Persistent pain lasts for longer than three months and can be caused by scarring or damage to nerves, the way the brain works, patient beliefs/coping, and some health conditions. Persistent pain can reduce attendance at work or education and participation in daily activities. Persistent pain is a leading cause for depression, poor mental health and wellbeing.
A pain management osteopath performs assessments of causes for pain or what is influencing pain.
A pain management osteopath may discuss tests done by other health professionals, what they have said about the pain and get information about when pain gets better or worse. This might involve talking about emotions, life stresses and what a patient is thinking or feeling when pain levels change.
Pain management osteopaths might also test to see if the pain comes from the muscles, joints or ligaments, a problem in the nerves or other issues that have changed the brain. Clinical nerve tests, movement tests, joint tests, and patient questionnaires might be used.
A pain management osteopath designs pain management plans and gives advice on steps a patient might take to relieve pain.
A pain management osteopath might discuss past strategies and treatments used for pain relief and how these strategies helped or not.
Pain management osteopaths might give education on how to move or position the body to relieve or avoid pain. The osteopath may also give activities for when pain gets worse. This can include diversion (distraction activities) or exercises to strengthen or train parts of the body to cope with pain at home or work. Pain management osteopaths may also give recommend manual therapies for pain relief.
Pain management osteopaths may recommend other health services for pain relief. They work closely with general practitioners, psychologists, exercise physiologists, medical specialists and other health professionals.
Osteopathy Australia's Clinical Practice Group (CPG) in pain exists to recognise members with further clinical skills in pain management. Click here to find out more about our CPGs.