Usually, the last thing you want to do when you’re in pain is move. It feels much more comfortable to take a painkiller and sit still so the pain seems less. However, sitting still may be the worst thing you can do if you have chronic pain because it causes you to become weaker in the long term. That’s where physiotherapy comes in.

Physiotherapy for Pain Management

Physiotherapists specialize in teaching you how to move in ways that are safe, yet functional, so you don’t lose body strength. Physiotherapy is effective for pain due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain (caused by injured nerves or tissues). Physiotherapy works for pain that affects the knees, neck, head, back, and shoulders. It works for both acute and chronic pain (pain you’ve had for more than 3 months).

Pain Management Treatment Options

Physiotherapists offer a variety of treatments that may include:

  • movement therapy and corrective exercise, such as treadmill walking or walking in a swimming pool;
  • massage;
  • bone and joint manipulation and mobilization;
  • acupuncture;
  • manual therapy and stretching using the hands and tools on soft tissue;
  • electrotherapy, such as TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation);
  • posture awareness and correction or improvement;
  • cold or heat packs;
  • cold laser therapy, which reduces inflammation and pain by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers;
  • help with understanding the cause of your pain;
  • education and advice on how to manage pain while doing daily activities;
  • breathing, relaxation, and mindfulness; and
  • self-management strategies on pacing, sleep, and stress.
  • movement therapy and corrective exercise, such as treadmill walking or walking in a swimming pool;
  • massage;
  • bone and joint manipulation and mobilization;
  • acupuncture;
  • manual therapy and stretching using the hands and tools on soft tissue;
  • electrotherapy, such as TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation);
  • posture awareness and correction or improvement;
  • cold or heat packs;
  • cold laser therapy, which reduces inflammation and pain by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers;
  • help with understanding the cause of your pain;
  • education and advice on how to manage pain while doing daily activities;
  • breathing, relaxation, and mindfulness; and
  • self-management strategies on pacing, sleep, and stress.

How Does Physiotherapy Help With Pain?

Physiotherapists work with patients individually to pinpoint and understand each patient’s pain and what caused it. Before deciding on a treatment plan, a physiotherapist will do a thorough assessment of your pain situation. They will choose a certain therapy or therapies based on the degree and nature of your pain as well as on your physical ability. They will then determine how best to manage your pain.

The advantage of seeing a physiotherapist for pain management is that they are able to spend time with you to ask questions, discuss your pain issues with you, and obtain feedback from you while you do your exercise routine, something that regular doctors may not have time for.

What Results Can I Expect?

If you do your prescribed exercises three-to-four days each week for 30 minutes a day, your chronic pain will improve because you’ll have:

  • increased muscle strength;
  • greater joint stability;
  • more endurance; and
  • more flexible joints and muscles.

Consistency Is Important

It’s important to be consistent with your exercise routine. Regular exercise not only helps you to maintain your ability to move and function, it also helps your body to heal itself by increasing endorphins, your body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals.

The more you move, the less pain you’ll have in the long term. This is essential. It is important to understand that, ultimately, you have to do the work if you want to feel better. A physiotherapist can only guide you to a faster and more complete recovery.

With the help of a physiotherapist, you will learn how to exercise safely to accommodate your pain. As a result, you’ll be able to function better on a daily basis.

Pain Management Is A Team Effort

A physiotherapist is an invaluable member of your healthcare team when it comes to pain management. You may also need a regular physician, in case you need medication to help manage your pain, and a clinical psychologist to help you deal with your pain better on a mental-emotional level.

If you’re in chronic pain, seeing a physiotherapist as a member of your healthcare team will reduce your pain levels and improve your quality of life.