Are you taking pills to relieve your pain?

With countless over-the-counter pills for treatment of pain, it can seem simple to turn to medicines for pain relief. Likewise pain relievers such as the opioids and steroids are also prescribed. While the long term effects of these medicines may be harmful, a relatively safer option can be thought of, that is, PHYSIOTHERAPY. With physiotherapy treatments, you can sweep all of those risks, worries, and unpleasant side effects aside. Physiotherapy can help numerous patients incredibly lessen their dependence on painkiller medications though some cases of severe pain might still require some medicines to be taken along with physiotherapy.

Many people bump physiotherapy into the same category as “alternative treatments” and it’s frequently confused with massage or chiropractic therapy. In any case, physiotherapy is different. Will it work for you? Let’s find out…

Physiotherapy is a health care profession which assists people to restore, maintain and make the most of a patient’s mobility, function and well-being as well as providing pain relief which is the main focus in the treatment for lot of injuries and conditions.

There is a multitude of different physiotherapy treatment approaches. After initial examination and testing physiotherapist will come to a diagnosis of what is the cause of pain. Depending on the cause/condition, treatment can involve a number of treatment and preventive approaches. Have a glance…

One or combination of any of these therapies depending on the tissue healing state may alleviate pain by:

  • Pain gate mechanism
  • Improving blood flow and fluid drainage
  • Production of the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals.
  • Promote relaxation
  • Relieve pain and stiffness
  • Increased awareness of body and movements.

Physiotherapy not only helps to manage pain, but also helps in avoiding/delaying surgeries, getting back to function post-surgery, other health issues like diabetes, stroke, heart attack, obesity etc.

Like other complicated things in life, pain may not be limited to one specific cause. We often speak of pain as multifactorial, but we still tend to assume one specific cause of it. Let’s put light on other potential causes contributing to the already existing pain one experiences which directly affects duration, intensity and perception of pain.

  • Lifestyle and behavior [smoking, alcohol, physical activity, nutritional status.]
  • Clinical aspects like mental health [anxiety, depression], surgical interventions, co-morbidities, sleep disorders, genetics etc.
  • Socio-economic background [research suggests low levels of education about pain and injury, neighborhood deprivations and perceived income inequalities are associated with pain thus interfering with daily activities].
  • Employment status and occupational factors [poor job control, expectations to return to work, fear of re-injury, lack of ability to modify work, unemployment, employer and co-worker reactions to pain etc.]
  • Influence of ethnicity and cultural background.
  • Attitudes and beliefs about pain.
  • History of violent injury, abuse or interpersonal violence.

Being a Neurophysiotherapist I would say treating pain requires a multi-dimensional approach considering all the above information. Physiotherapy combined with efforts from general practitioners, pain management consultants, psychologists, orthopedic specialists and rheumatologists to give greater benefits from treatment.

What is your role in physiotherapy?

For physiotherapy to take effect and alleviate pain, it takes your active participation. The responsibility of reducing pain is not just on the physiotherapist, you have to do your part too. Only then those exercises/treatment will have an impact. Here are some tips for the therapy to work better and faster:

  • All the exercises prescribed should be done regularly.
  • The advice given by your therapist should be followed accurately.
  • Follow up should be maintained to evaluate the progression and if there is any modification in treatment.

It is important to know that physiotherapy and pain relief is a complex subject, and that every individual may respond differently to the therapy due to different body structures, different movement patterns and different habits.

You’re probably wondering whether you should bother visiting a physiotherapist or why not just wait it out? Unfortunately, waiting it out will probably reduce symptoms temporarily but may also aggravate them in long term and may not actually fix the reason you got that pain in the first place. I hope now you’re in a position to acknowledge your pain and get it treated.

Let us know how much this article has helped you and as always we’re here to answer all those questions popping in your mind…

Till then take good care of yourselves and the ones around you…!!!

Authored by-
Dr Charmi Parmar
Masters in Neurophysiotherapy
Specialised in Neurodynamics and Dry needling techniques
Consultant Neurophysiotherapist

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