Acute pain is generally associated with acute tissue damage, due to trauma, surgery or an active
disease process. Such pain is driven by peripheral factors. In this case, pain provides an effective
warning system, which occurs to protect tissues and is related to a distinct pathological condition or
surgical procedure. When pain does not disappear or reduce, it may develop to persistent or chronic
pain. Whether through abnormal healing, additional damage, or failed medical intervention, pain
may become chronic. Chronic pain no longer signals tissue damage and unfortunately, medical
interventions frequently cannot resolve chronic pain. In this case, there is an increased need for the
pain management techniques and methods.
Physiotherapy for the pain management
Physiotherapy is one of the main treatment options for various types of pain, besides the traditional
therapies such as medication or in worst case surgery. There is a range of physiotherapeutic methods
designed to maintain or improve movements, flexibility of joints, muscle tone and strength. For acute
pain, recommended management involves pain education, assurance, advice on resuming normal
activity and discussion of options for pain management, as needed. The efficacy of physiotherapy
should be assessed by objective outcome measurements at regular intervals.
These strategies can also be useful in chronic pain.
Passive and active physiotherapy
Physiotherapy used for the pain reduction can be either passive or active. Passive physiotherapy
methods include ice or heat packs, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, intradiscal
electrothermal therapy, acupuncture, ultrasound therapy, etc. The main active physiotherapy
techniques include stretching and range of motion, strengthening, pain-relief exercises and low-impact
An active physiotherapy program is used when a patient is suffering from chronic pain. Such program
is individually designed for a patient by physiotherapist, who specific exercises which you can
complete in your own time. A physiotherapist must assess physical function and adjust the exercises
to a personal level and overall physical health. Even though the patient has persistent pain and it hurts
to exercise, it may hurt a lot more if a proper physiotherapy is not practiced. However, if an active
physiotherapy is not tolerated due to the severity of pain, a passive physiotherapeutic methods should
What should a patient expect from physiotherapy?
First of all, a patient who decides to try physiotherapy or who is referred to a physiotherapist by
physician should strictly follow the instructions what should be done. The physiotherapists will help
to manage the pain better, to improve the quality of life and to increase your physical functions despite
having pain. However, in cases of chronic pain, it is not always possible to cure the pain completely,
but physiotherapy may help to reduce the suffering and to improve daily routine. For instance, this
involves helping to become fitter, or returning to activities that a patient found difficult to process
since he or she has been experiencing the pain.