Pain Management

What Is Pain Management?

Pain management is using a variety of strategies and modalities to help you control your pain, both in the clinic and independently throughout your daily life. Whether it be from a chronic condition, acute injury, or from an unknown cause, pain is a challenge that most of us have to face at some point in our lifetime. In some cases, pain can be so intense, or last for such long periods of time, that it can have significant impacts on our function and our quality of life. A pain management plan is aimed at helping you take control of your symptoms and live life on your own terms.

Doctor physiotherapist assisting a male patient while giving exercising treatment massaging the arm of patient in a physio room, rehabilitation physiotherapy concept
Nurse making a house visit to a senior patient

What Does Pain Management Involve?

Pain management can involve a number of passive and/or active strategies. Some of the passive options involve modalities like IFC, TENS and ice for acute (new) and severe pain, or shockwave therapy and heat therapy for chronic (prolonged) pain. Other common passive pain management techniques include massage, acupuncture, cupping, and manual therapy. Active treatments like stretching, endurance exercise, foam rolling, and resistance exercise can also be important strategies in managing your pain at the times when you are not in the clinic. Typically, a good pain management plan involves both active and passive treatments, as well as a specific plan of action for your independent management that can be adjusted over time based on your schedule, progress, and goals.

Why Should I See A Physiotherapist For Pain Management?

Physiotherapists are experts in movement, biomechanics, and how your movement patterns and dysfunction can contribute to your pain. By working with a physiotherapist, you have a better chance of determining what might be causing your pain, as well as what some good strategies might be with respect to managing it on an ongoing basis. Also, since a physiotherapist is not able to prescribe, or provide advice regarding, medication, you will be working with a professional who is fully interested in helping you manage your pain without immediately opting for medication or complex procedures.

A Modern rehabilitation physiotherapy worker with woman client
Physiotherapist correcting her senior patient with his shoulder posture as he lifts free weights

How Long Does A Pain Management Plan Last?

A pain management plan is very unique based on how you are presenting, the severity of your symptoms, and the type of strategies that work for you. With some individuals, one minor change can make large differences in their pain levels, while others require more planning and prolonged treatment to help manage their symptoms. It totally depends on you, your schedule, and your willingness to be consistent with whatever strategies you and your physiotherapist decide on to help you improve your function and work towards your goals. Pain comes and goes for various reasons over time and managing pain as it arises is a lifelong journey for all of us.

How Do I Get the Most Out Of A Pain Management Plan?

To get the most out of your pain management plan, it is important to be consistent with your plan, and be open to trying new things. Your plan might involve changes related to your sleep, movement, activity levels, etc. that may be quite different than other strategies you have tried so far. Your willingness to commit to these small changes and being open to the impact they might have will give you and your physiotherapist the best chance of understanding what is working for you and what needs to be adapted. There is no perfect formula for pain management, as pain is a very individual experience, but seeking assistance with managing your pain is a critical first step on the way to achieving the quality of life that you deserve.

At First Line Physiotherapy, pain management is considered a component of physiotherapy assessments and treatments. If you have any other questions about how a physiotherapist can help you with pain management or would like help in deciding if physiotherapy would be right for you, please contact us, and a team member would be happy to assist you.


Physical rehab