Immediate pain relief is one of the commonest things that we as Physiotherapists can do for you. But unfortunately not everyone knows this. They assume that physiotherapists only help with treatment of sports injuries or if you’ve suffered an accident. That’s far from the truth. It’s unbelievable to me the number of times I’ve heard patients remarking that they had no idea that we could treat their headaches or migraines or even neck pain! So no, physiotherapy is not just for sports injuries. It’s also for pain relief from repetitive strain sustained at work. Or also chronic neck pain and back pain. What really gets me is the common misconception is that just one session would be enough to fix the problem! or if not one, then 2 or 3 sessions would be enough. Well, let me tell you why this is humanly not possible to achieve 100% pain relief in one session of physio.

Picture of Physiotherapy for pain relief

A big part of pain relief is reduction in swelling

The first thing that happens to the body part that’s injured is swelling, as soon as you’re hurt. It’s the swelling that irritates the nerves and causes pain. We first need to control the swelling in order to get pain relief. This process itself can take anywhere from 3 days to 15 days! Provided that you’ve followed all the advice that our physiotherapists have given you. Your body is vulnerable to re-injury at this stage. Now, this is also assuming that you’ve come to us within a week of the injury happening. Most of the times, people think “it’ll get better”. So they leave it for days…weeks…or sometimes even months…before they decide to get treated. This can create a vicious cycle of injury-swelling-pain-re-injury-more swelling -and more pain. We need to break this cycle to achieve a 100% pain relief. This is exactly what takes time. Remember, the longer you leave an injury untreated, the longer it can take to heal. The very fact that your body hasn’t healed itself, means that it needs some help to heal and have long term pain relief.

Movement helps with pain relief

Contrary to popular belief, controlled movement will actually help with pain relief. Yes of course you need to rest the part when you’ve first injured it depending upon the severity but getting simple movement into the joint as long as the pain is bearable will help. Our physiotherapists use joint mobilizations to get movement into inflammed joints in a controlled manner. This helps with pain relief immediately because it gets the blood flowing which then helps in washing out the toxins causing pain. Joint mobilizations is an important part of hands on therapy at our clinic to achieve long term pain relief for our patients. Muscle tension can also cause spasms because the muscles are just trying to protect the joints. So we also focus on muscle tension release to improve movement in the area for pain relief. This helps in getting rid of the spasms. These treatment techniques take time to take effect in the body , although you will feel the pain relief immediately but it won’t go away a 100% in the first session.

Long term pain relief needs muscle strengthening that takes time

Our bodies are very specific with training. Which means that if you’re good at running, you may not be good at swimming unless you train to do that. Any new exercise will take at least 3 to 4 weeks for your body to show results. You may not be strong enough in the first session to start exercises for pain releif. That’s why we need to slowly start them in subsequent sessions. This is also provided that you’re doing that activity or exercise at leat 3 times per week. So a person who plays sports once per week will see slower results than someone who plays 3 times per week. So when we focus on muscle strengthening for long term pain relief , we recommen doing those exercise every day! The repetitions may be lower ofcourse. But the more consistent you are , the more results you’ll see with long term pain relief. Our bodies also are very good at adapting. So the exericises need to be progressed but gradually in order to maintain what we have achieved. If you go back to the activities that have caused the injury in the first place, you have to do your homework and be careful with the posture and continue exercises for long term pain releif. Otherwise there are high chances of that injury occuring again.

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