2nd January 24

Physiotherapy as a Treatment for Chronic Pain


Chronic pain, a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, is characterized by persistent discomfort that lasts beyond the usual healing time of three to six months.

It affects an estimated 20% of people worldwide, profoundly impacting their quality of life. Individuals suffering from chronic pain often experience symptoms that are not just physical but also emotional, contributing to conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Moreover, chronic pain can lead to diminished mobility, hampering an individual’s ability to perform daily tasks, participate in enjoyable activities, or maintain gainful employment.

Consequently, chronic pain presents a significant societal burden, necessitating effective treatment strategies, such as physiotherapy, to manage its pervasive effects.

Various treatment methods are available for managing chronic pain, ranging from pharmacological interventions like pain relievers and antidepressants to non-pharmacological approaches including cognitive-behavioural therapy, acupuncture, and lifestyle modifications.

Each method has its strengths and limitations. However, in recent years, physiotherapy has emerged as a pragmatic and effective strategy for managing chronic pain.

Physiotherapy, also known as physical therapy, takes a holistic approach to pain management, focusing not only on pain reduction but also on improving mobility and overall quality of life.

The following sections delve deeper into the role of physiotherapy in chronic pain management, discussing its underlying principles, techniques, and benefits.

Understanding Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is a healthcare discipline that aims to alleviate symptoms of diseases, injuries, or disabilities through physical methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise rather than by medication or surgery.

The primary focus of physiotherapy is the restoration of functionality and movement, with a particular emphasis on improving the patient’s physical independence.

Physiotherapy operates on the premise that physical wellness significantly impacts an individual’s overall well-being. The process begins with an in-depth assessment of the patient’s physical condition, followed by the development of a tailored treatment plan. This plan may encompass a variety of strategies such as manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, electrotherapy techniques, and education about
lifestyle changes.

Through these approaches, physiotherapy addresses the root causes of pain and works to alleviate discomfort, enhance mobility, and improve the patient’s quality of life.

How Physiotherapy Treats Chronic Pain

Physiotherapy employs a range of techniques for the management of chronic pain.

Manual therapy involves hands-on techniques like manipulation and mobilization to improve mobility and reduce pain. Therapeutic exercises are customized programs designed to enhance strength, flexibility, and endurance, and to correct postural and muscle imbalances.

Electrotherapy employs electrical signals to interfere with the transmission of neural pain signals into the brain, effectively reducing pain perception. Hydrotherapy uses water exercises to relieve pain and improve physical strength and balance.

Education and advice form an integral component, teaching patients how to manage their condition effectively, prevent further
complications, and improve their overall quality of life.

Thus, physiotherapy provides a multifaceted approach to the management of chronic pain.

Benefits of Physiotherapy for Chronic Pain

Physiotherapy presents several unique advantages over alternative treatment methods for managing chronic pain. Firstly, it offers a non-invasive approach to pain management, eliminating the potential side effects and risks associated with surgery or long-term medication use.

While pharmacological interventions can provide temporary relief, physiotherapy addresses the root cause of the pain and aims to rectify it, leading to more sustainable results. It also promotes patient empowerment and self-management, not just providing a treatment but also educating patients on how to manage their condition and prevent future episodes.

Additionally, physiotherapy can be tailored to suit the specific needs and circumstances of each patient, ensuring a more personalized and effective treatment plan. By integrating physical treatment techniques with patient education, physiotherapy provides a holistic, comprehensive approach to chronic pain management, potentially enhancing the patient’s overall quality of life beyond pain reduction.

Chronic Pain at Carter & George

At our Hitchin practice we are lucky to have Matt Plater who is our Chronic Pain specialist. He has done extensive research on the subject and has treated many patients who had previously been struggling for months if not years.

Matt is caring and understanding in his treatment while helping manage your condition not only in the best way medically but also the best way in relation to your lifestyle and needs. If you are struggling with chronic pain in Hitchin don’t hesitate to book and see Matt.

Through all of our physiotherapists vast and varied experience with patients they are able to understand and treat chronic pain holistically with the help of various treatment methods. We are able to refer for any necessary scans or consultations and also have the use of our private gyms and strength and conditioning coaches.


If you’re currently grappling with chronic pain, it’s important to remember you’re not alone. The journey can undoubtedly be challenging, but there are avenues of treatment that can offer relief and improve your quality of life.

Physiotherapy is one such approach that has proven to be effective for many individuals. It doesn’t merely address the symptoms, but targets the root cause of the pain, promoting a more sustainable path to recovery.

Moreover, physiotherapy provides a comprehensive and personalized treatment plan, encompassing various physical techniques and valuable education about self-management strategies. It’s more than just a treatment; it’s a lifestyle shift that encourages greater physical independence, reduced discomfort, and a better overall quality of life.

It’s worth considering physiotherapy as part of your chronic pain management plan.

Remember, the goal of physiotherapy, and of healthcare in general, is to help you live your life to the fullest, despite your condition.

It’s never too late to start your journey towards pain relief and improved well-being.