Income protection clients need coaching more than therapy for chronic pain
Great to see how work by former guest Professor Lorimer Moseley is changing the claims environment in Australia and helping people on their journey back to work!
Some highlights from this article
“We’re literally helping people get their lives back and improving their ability to function physically which in turn helps them in their return to work journey.’’
The insurer now has 409 people receiving coaching with 170 completing five sessions.
“Pain coaching has revolutionised the way in which we support customers experiencing musculoskeletal conditions with their recovery,’’ Fox says.
“If we are able to get better health outcomes, we will not only achieve a fantastic outcome for members, but we will also create a more sustainable product with a better claims experience.”
Professor Moseley says the trial was “one of the most exciting things we’ve been able to do” in its recent research and expected outcomes to continue improving for AIA clients.
“I want to flip your idea of pain so that you can understand why we’re doing the things that we’re doing with people in pain to help them recover and help them get back to work,” he told the Group Insurance Summit.
“It’s almost certain that your current understanding of pain is not consistent with a contemporary understanding of pain which has been revolutionised in the last 20 or 30 years.
“This is very exciting for people in pain and for those of us trying to improve the lives of people in pain.”
Managing occupational-related musculoskeletal pain
Interesting review paper co-authored by Le Pub guest Morten Høgh, exploring education in the workplace to help occupational-related pain.
There is a gap in knowledge regarding the best content and delivery of education of material in the workplace. Although beneficial outcomes were reported, more RCT studies are required to determine the effects of education material as compared with other interventions, such as exercise or behavioural therapy.
We are delighted to have had the brilliant Morten Hogh on Le Pub. Morten took us on a journey through the ins and outs of pain in the workplace, looking at the real reasons why people of working age are the most affected by musculoskeletal pain and if our traditional approaches to addressing the problem do more harm than good.
It has previously been thought that pain caused at work was a result of poor working practices and inadequate equipment and that the solution was to adjust the way we work. New research suggests that this may not be case and that the most effective approach is to continue to work, despite the pain, and that in some instances the traditional solutions may actually cause more harm than good.
This talk discussed the arising paradigms in the management of work-related pain.
Key messages about work-related pain from the perspective of a person in pain:
- “Work” is about meaningful occupation, not just remuneration, and by changing the way we view (and reward) work, we can include more people in the workforce.
- The most important question to ask (from John Loeser): “What does the pain prevent you from doing that you need or want to do?”
- The decision to RTW (return to work) should be made by the patient, because (and when) it’s the right thing to do for that person, and not under duress.
- “Work is therapy!” – working can offer huge benefits to health and well-being. How can we make work more therapeutic?
- We too often centre the economic costs of absenteeism. What would happen if we instead centred the person, and their needs/wants/goals?
Key messages about work-related pain from the perspective of a healthcare professional:
- Every person who has pain is either employed or unemployed. Therefore, work-related pain is relevant for everyone.
- Should we use the term work-related pain? Most people with chronic pain experience pain in all areas of their lives, not just when they’re at work.
- Getting a professional athlete back to their respective sport is work-related. Can we change the perspective of clinicians and employers to realise the importance of facilitating a return to work for all people in pain?
- It’s better to work painfree but if this is not possible (which may be true for many people) it is better to work with pain than not work at all.
- The cost of not working is huge for the person in pain (not just the employer). Find ways to make this happen that fit the individual. Be creative, make adaptations, create flexibility and above all open a constant dialogue between person in pain and employer (and clinician if appropriate).