Physiotherapy Pain Management
If you are suffering from severe pain, whether it be chronic or severe, it is most probably time to seek some sort of medical intervention to address any underlying issue, and improve your quality of life. Seeing a General Practitioner (GP) can be the best first step in addressing this, as they have the skills and ability to treat the pain themselves, and involve a specialist if required.
Your GP may recommend you find a physiotherapist to assist in your pain management. A physiotherapist has a thorough knowledge of your musculoskeletal system (bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons), and are highly trained in isolating the underlying cause and finding a solution to get you back to your former self.
Common Areas of Causes of Pain
Pain can nearly be in any part of the body. It can be described as
- mild, moderate, severe,
- continuous or sporadic,
- sharp or dull,
- shooting or isolated
The cause can be obvious (e.g. whiplash) or require professional diagnostics (e.g. neurogenic pain). Below are some common causes of pain.
Consider these examples:
- Headache and neck pain – cervicogenic pain, migraine, whiplash-associated disorder (WAD)
- Muscle pain – contusions, tendinopathies, partial or complete tears
- Joint pain – osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, chondromalacia, synovitis
- Post-trauma pain - sporting injuries, falls, motor vehicle accidents
- Post-surgical pain – total knee/hip replacements, knee/shoulder reconstructions, transpositions
- Nerve pain – central sensitisation, neuropathic pain, polyneuropathies
"...[Massage] is also known to trigger the brain to release natural pain relief (endorphins) into the bloodstream."
Physiotherapy Pain Management Strategies
Typically, you should consult with your treating physiotherapist before attempting to self-manage your condition. Below are some more common approaches to managing pain.
Education – Education can be a powerful tool in helping you come to terms with your pain. More often, we find ourselves fearful of movement and activity when we’re in pain, and this can be your biggest enemy. Head into your local physiotherapy clinic to ensure an accurate diagnosis and to better understand your condition.
Heat - Heat therapy is effective in alleviating pain. It helps with reducing the pain that comes with muscle spasms and trigger points.
Cold or Ice - Ice can be used in reducing hot, inflamed injuries, and the numbing effect can be a method of pain relief for sharp pain.
Manual therapy – Physiotherapy often involves a hands ON approach to managing your conditions. Not simply machines and pills, but looking at mobilising and manipulating muscle, ligamentous and tendinous tissues so they heal and function normally.
Massage - Massage can increase circulation which alleviates sore and stiff joints and muscles. It is also known to trigger the brain to release natural pain relief (endorphins) into the bloodstream.
Acupuncture or Dry Needling - Acupuncture is widely accepted in the medical community as a drugfree solution for pain relief. Dry needling may be a more “westernised” alternative for acupuncture, which many physiotherapists are now trained in. Relief can be found in stimulating the right area’s which are tight and knotted.
Relaxation and stress management techniques - Stress and anxiety can be manifest itself through the muscles. Simple relaxation and distraction technique can assist in reducing the severity of pain. Often overlooked, these meditational options can help you master your own pain.
Are you ready to break free of your pain?
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