Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, some patients may develop chronic pain as a result of injury or trauma such as Whiplash Associated Disorder or a fracture, degenerative disorders such as Osteoarthritis, post surgery, inflammatory or rheumatological disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, and neurological disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis or Stroke. For this group of patients, resolution of symptoms may not be possible or realistic. However, physiotherapy intervention can make a significant contribution to effective pain management strategies.
The objectives for physiotherapy treatment become focused on the individual needs of the patient and the specific nature of their complaint. Overall, the primary goal is to minimise the effects of the symptoms to such an extent as to allow for maximum independence in the activities of daily living, active participation in leisure, recreation and occupation activities and optimal quality of life. Goal setting needs to be realistic and attainable. All too often, patients embark on protracted and expensive courses of treatment in the hope of achieving symptom resolution, which proves to be elusive. We, at Neasa Long Partnership Physiotherapy Clinic, promote a self directed approach to the management of chronic pain conditions. We aim to equip our patients with the skills and advice they need to keep symptoms at a manageable level for them and to avoid situations in which over-dependency on treatment can develop. Once effective self management strategies are in place, physiotherapy treatments are then only required periodically for maintenance purposes and to prevent/minimise exacerbations.
Because of the multiplicity of predisposing and contributory factors to chronic pain syndromes and conditions, effective management is multi-disciplinary and is very much a team approach. Therefore, regular and appropriate liaison between the physiotherapists and other health care professionals including GPs, pain management consultants and other specialist consultants is crucial. We recognise this fact and view good communication as an integral component of our duty of care.