Relieving pain

Claude Spicher, who holds a degree in occupational therapy and conducts research in the Department of Medicine/Physiology at the University of Fribourg, is the co-author of an article on pain relief using somatosensory rehabilitation, published in the renowned Encyclopédie médico-chirurgicale (Encyclopedia of Medicine and Surgery).

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The somatosensory rehabilitation method was introduced 12 years ago and is now recognised internationally. The treatment focuses on the reduction of skin pain (burning sensations, stabbing pain, itching, etc.) and is now taught in 28 countries. Further training for therapists in this field has been available since 2009 and leads to the certification: “Somatosensory Pain Therapist”. Sensory disorders of the skin occur because of injury to peripheral nerves. The method seeks to first localise the seat of the patient’s pain and then to determine the relevant therapy.

Somatosensory rehabilitation now forms part of the renowned EMC (Encyclopédie médico-chirurgicale), a kind of bible for the medical profession. Claude Spicher is one of the authors of the entry which describes in detail the therapy’s methodology and the fields in which it can be applied. Somatosensory rehabilitation is primarily based on the patient’s description of the pain and its effects. This enables the therapist to identify the pain and to map it. By mapping the pain the therapist can determine the treatment and also follow the later progress of the sensory disorder. The method has already been used in the treatment of over 100 patients and has achieved extremely positive results. These are also discussed in the EMC entry.

At the same time the second edition of the book La méthode de rééducation sensitive de la douleur (somatosensory pain rehabilitation method) has appeared. Its authors are Claude Spicher, who is also co-founder of the Somatosensory Rehabilitation Centre (Centre de rééducation sensitive du corps humain) at the Clinique Générale (Fribourg, Switzerland), and Isabelle Quintal, who holds a degree in occupational therapy from the University of Montreal and is also a member of the Rehabilitation Centre. The publication comprises numerous contributions by specialists such as Guillaume Léonard, professor of medicine at Sherbrooke University, Canada, and Pierre Sprumont, emeritus professor of the same university. The book’s target audience includes not only therapists, but also medical practitioners in general and patients desperately seeking treatment for pain. Its aim is to offer medical experts new ideas and solutions in the treatment of pain. The book’s foreword is written by Ronald Melzack of McGill University in Montreal, an internationally recognised pioneer and specialist in the field and the originator of Gate Control Theory.



Contact: Claude Spicher, Institute of Physiologie, Department of Medizin, University of Fribourg, claude.spicher@unifr.ch, 026 350 06 12