Pain Management Groups in Occupational Health Services

Toni Vänni, Beatrix Redemann, Anne Lamminpää, Terveystalo Ltd, Helsinki, Finland

All sorts of pain, especially low back pain,  are common causes of visits at occupational health services (OHS). At the same time chronic pain can be difficult to treat. Pain is a common cause of absenteeism and  work disability in the long run. In Finnish society costs of pain are high.

Common form of pain treatment in Finnish OHS are pain killers, guidance by an occupational physiotherapist and sick leave. Furthermore work accomodation is widely used in the Finnish work environment. All these measures are relevant but not effective enough to prevent work disability or chronification.  Our  idea is to find a better solution and clinical guidelines for at least Terveystalo.

The aim of this study is to design an early rehabilitation process including testing of indicators for  follow up  among  working age patients at Terveystalo.


Our subjects are OHS patients, who suffer distress, discomfort, disability and decrease of performance due to musculosceletal pain, and who are ready to take part in active rehabilitation and exercise.

Occupational therapists and – psychologists specializing in pain management and treatment, specialist doctors and OHS physicians belong to the multidisciplinary team who will take part in the process.

We will use the most applicable indicators for pain reduction. Measurements for patients are pain VAS, modified Linton pain questionnaire, fear-avoidance questionaire, GAS (goal assessment scale), WHOQOL-BREF and days at sick leave.


We are going to present a design or clinical guideline of multimodal and multiprofessional early rehabilitation prosess for our OHS. We are aiming at a design for single cases and group-interventions.

Results will be presented at the conference: Clinical quidelines for early rehabilitation in OHS at Terveystalo, case reports and results of group intervention. Relevant indicators are evaluated for our setting.

Discussion and conclusion

The aim of early pain rehabilitation in OHS for a single case or groups is good life quality and work ability. Clinical guidelines and relevant follow up indicators are needed in OHS. Some recommendations for length of absenteeism are relevant as well.

There is a gap between knowledge and action as well as a time lag between knowledge and action in pain management.  Our aim is to decrease these gaps in OHS and encourage every practitioner to focus more on early pain rehabilitation process to prevent chronic pain.