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Managing Chronic Pain: How Physiotherapy Can Help Ottawans

wall sit with therapy ballWhether you experience arthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches or other types of chronic pain, such discomfort can be debilitating and draining, both physically and mentally. This persistent but unwelcome companion can severely limit one’s quality of life, impacting everything from daily activities to emotional well-being.

Understanding the Psychological Aspect

“I think one of the biggest challenges for chronic pain patients is because it’s been going on for so long, they tend to develop fear and apprehension around their condition. And maybe it limits them from doing things, and then they choose to restrict participation in their leisure or social activities because of pain. Ultimately, it has a huge impact on their mental health and their psychology,” said Taofiq Aziz, Registered Physiotherapist at Ottawa Health: Performance and Rehabilitation.

Clearing Misconceptions: Hurt Doesn’t Equal Harm

A common misconception among chronic pain sufferers is that pain is a sign of ongoing damage—”hurt equals harm.” However, this is not necessarily the case. Taofiq strives to debunk this myth, reassuring patients that experiencing pain does not always mean further harm is being caused to the body.

Physiotherapists As Mental Coaches

Physiotherapy goes beyond treating physical symptoms; it also encompasses mental coaching. We assist patients in developing coping mechanisms, such as encouraging independence and cultivating the ability to deal with discomfort rather than attempting to avoid it.

The Link Between Chronic Pain, Stress, and Anxiety

Understanding the complex relationship between chronic pain, stress, and anxiety is another crucial aspect of managing discomfort. Doing things outside of the clinic to help tame tension (e.g., reducing work stress or emotional stress at home) can help manage the symptoms.

The Role of Sleep, Nutrition, and Physical Activity

Proper sleep, nutrition, and physical activity are vital components for recovering from chronic pain. A physiotherapy regime often includes education and guidance on these aspects, alongside a well-rounded treatment plan, to ensure the best possible recovery process.

Employing a Biopsychosocial Approach

In years past, physiotherapists focused solely on the biomedical approach of treating the muscle or the joint rather than the person as a whole. According to Taofiq, there’s been a large movement to become more holistic and talk about things like sleep, stress, nutrition and fitness in relation to their pain and dysfunction. “That’s definitely a huge focus of my practice as well,” he said.

Taofiq adds that not every physio will delve into those things. “But I think it really helps because the patient will feel like they’re being cared for at a much deeper level and that the therapist understands them and has an idea of the struggle that they deal with that goes beyond pain.” That could be how it affects their ability to interact with people, complete their jobs or tasks, raise kids, or do whatever they’re trying to do.

Building Self-Esteem and Positive Focus

Physiotherapy also aims to bolster self-esteem and encourage a more positive outlook. By shifting focus from negative limitations to positive capabilities, patients may experience an increase in their ability to handle pain, ultimately improving their quality of life.

Put Pain in Your Past

Are you ready to regain your freedom and live a life without limitations? Call us today to schedule your consultation with Taofiq and get on the path towards a pain-free life.

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