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Role of Physiotherapy in Managing Body Aches.

Published on Oct 19, 2022 and last reviewed on Mar 15, 2023   -  6 min read


The important goals of physiotherapy are to reduce and manage pain and increase body function. Read the article below to know more.


Physiotherapy is an excellent approach to alleviating various physical aches and symptoms. Massages, exercises, and heat treatments are used in physiotherapy to relieve pain. This treatment is frequently suggested as the first line of defense against back and neck pain. Physiotherapy is also used to help people recover from surgery. This treatment includes a variety of activities that can be used to treat sports injuries. Before beginning physical therapy, getting an accurate diagnosis of your illness is critical. Seek expert assistance, and if they recommend physiotherapy, then go ahead with the treatment. When you first start physical therapy after a back or neck pain episode, you should anticipate feeling some discomfort. After you have gotten used to the regimen, you will experience a gradual reduction of pain.

What Are the Types of Pain?

The types of pain include:

Acute Pain: Short-term pains serve as a warning system, alerting us to the fact that something is wrong. While most small aches and pains are readily addressed and forgotten, others are indicators of something more serious that we should not ignore. For example, the pain of a broken leg is beneficial because it forces us to rest the leg until it heals.

Chronic Pain: It is characterized as discomfort that lasts longer than the normal period for tissues to heal after an injury. Most soft tissue injuries heal in a few weeks, while some may take months to recover fully. Pain that persists and presents longer than three to six months is referred to as chronic or persistent pain by pain specialists. Chronic pain has a variety of causes, but in certain cases, the pain is thought to be caused by the nerve fibers' pain messages being jumbled. The brain is then unable to fully comprehend the impulses.

What Are the Common Pain Conditions?

The common pain conditions are:

What Are the Types of Physical Therapy for Pain Management?

Physical therapy (PT) comes in a variety of forms, but pain treatment techniques are generally divided into two categories: passive physical therapy and active physical therapy. Passive physical therapy treatments require the patient to remain immobile while treatments are administered, and they are successful in providing pain relief quickly. Active physical treatment necessitates patient involvement and may benefit a patient for longer periods of time.

Both types of physical therapy treatments have been found to be helpful in studies, and combining them in a treatment plan can be very effective in addressing problems like arthritis, low back pain, and neck discomfort.

For comprehensive recovery, a holistic approach to body treatment that addresses the underlying issues leading to your aches and pains is required. Some of the most common pain-relieving therapies include:

  • Therapeutic massage.

  • Manual therapy.

  • Exercise prescription and movement therapy.

  • Posture correction and improvement.

  • Acupuncture.

  • Breathing, relaxation, and mindfulness.

  • Education.

  • Advice on self-management strategies such as pacing, stress, and sleep.

  • Cold pack or heat and electrotherapy such as TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation).

What Are Passive Physical Therapy Treatments?

Here are some of the most common passive physical therapy treatments:

  • Application of Heat, Cold, or Both:

Inflammation and muscle spasms can be reduced by using heat or ice packs or by alternating between the two. Heat or cold are the most typically employed modality since they are readily available. Each type of treatment aids in the reduction of muscle spasms and inflammation.

Some people benefit more from heat therapy, such as heat packs, while others benefit more from cold therapy, such as ice massage. The two can also be switched around. They are usually used for 10-20 minutes every two hours and are most effective early in a pain episode (the first few days).

  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TENS):

Electrical stimulation is used in the TENS unit to relieve pain by overriding pain signals supplied to the brain. The electrical pulses are sent through the skin to the sensory nerves. Electrical stimulation is used in a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) unit to modify the sensation of low back pain by overriding the unpleasant impulses transmitted to the brain. Electrotherapy with a TENS unit is usually tried first, and if the patient finds significant pain relief, a TENS unit can be used at home for long-term low back pain alleviation.

  • Iontophoresis:

An electrical current is used to apply the steroid to the skin. The current leads push the steroid deeper into the skin, where it can help with inflammation and pain. The delivery of steroids through the skin is known as iontophoresis. An electrical current is used to cause the steroid to migrate under the skin after it is administered to the skin. The steroids then have an anti-inflammatory impact in the location where the pain is occurring. This treatment is very useful in the treatment of acute pain.

  • Laser Therapy:

Laser photons penetrate the skin, reducing unpleasant inflammation and speeding up tissue recovery.

  • Ultrasound:

On the skin, a cold gel is applied. Ultrasound equipment is then used to apply sound waves to the gel site. The waves penetrate soft tissues. Ultrasound is deep heating in which sound waves pass through the skin and into the soft tissues. Ultrasound is particularly effective at relieving acute pain and may aid tissue healing.

  • Massage Therapy:

Massage therapy can aid in the relaxation of muscles and other soft tissues.

What Are Active Physical Therapy Treatments?

The patient participates in active physical therapy treatments while the therapist gives instruction and help. The following are examples of active physical therapy treatments::

  • Range-Of-Motion Exercises:

Range-of-motion exercises can help people who have had a stroke, have had an injury, or have spent a long time in bed. During each session, the physical therapist assists with moving the limb through a broader range of motion and beyond the point of pain.

  • Dynamic Lumbar Stabilization:

This treatment focuses on stretching to reduce back and neck discomfort. Stretches help to relieve muscle tension and increase the range of motion. Exercises like the back flexion stretch and the knee to chest stretch are among them.

  • McKenzie Approach:

The physical therapist helps the patient execute activities that stretch the spine and relieve pain. It focuses on moving discomfort from the leg or arm to the back, where it can be tolerated better.

  • Aquatic Exercise:

A pool is used for aquatic exercise. The buoyancy of the water relieves and reduces pressure on the spine. Especially in cases of severe shoulder, neck, or back pain, the patient can work the muscles while feeling less discomfort than they would otherwise.

  • Targeted and General Conditioning:

Physical therapy exercises can target a specific portion of the body, such as the lower back, neck, joints, inflamed area, etc. General conditioning physical therapy could help a patient with a total-body medical ailment like fibromyalgia. There are workouts for strengthening, stretching, aerobics, and endurance.

The discomfort you feel during physiotherapy is due to your muscles being tight and being stretched in ways they are not used to. However, if your discomfort worsens over time, you are probably not a good candidate for that type of physical treatment.


When your doctor recommends pain-alleviation therapy, the physical therapist has a wide choice of treatment alternatives. When chronic pain develops or when a loss of mobility and function occurs after a stroke incident or an auto accident, physical therapy for pain reduction is frequently recommended. The physical therapist will work and monitor the patient closely to provide passive or active treatments and will teach them how to exercise properly at home.

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Last reviewed at:
15 Mar 2023  -  6 min read




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