By WIN Contributor: Karen Evers, Reg. Kin, OTA, PTA
The phrase “no pain, no gain” is often mentioned by physiotherapy patients during their treatments. I thought it would be a great idea to discuss this concept and hopefully alleviate some fears patients have when coming to get treatment for their injuries. Many patients come in to WIN Health hearing stories that physiotherapy is painful and believe that this is the cost in order to feel better. Of course there are times when pain will be created through manual therapy to increase healing and mobility, but it does not make the pain worse.
When shouldn’t patients be pushed past their pain in physiotherapy?
During the acute phase of a patient’s injury, they should not be pushed beyond the pain they may already be feeling. During this phase the brain is telling the body it is in pain for a reason. Pushing beyond this pain can cause an inflammatory response resulting in increased tissue injury or prolonged soreness.
When is it ok to feel pain?
For some injuries or joint replacements it is necessary to relieve stiffness with increased stretching leading to some pain in order to avoid adhesions and scar tissue build up. This will enhance over all movement. It’s the extra “push” the therapist will need to do that may cause relative ‘pain’ but it short lived and often patients report feeling better at the end of treatment.
During an initial assessment, some testing may be used to mildly provoke pain to help determine the diagnosis, what is causing the pain or makes it feel better and what course of treatment will be required.
Our goal for each physiotherapy session at WIN is that you leave us feeling better. This could mean feeling loose or less pain. During your treatment we may have you stretch, strengthen or perform mobility exercises. These are performed to the point of pain, we are not trying to push past the pain. Discomfort can be felt while gaining back strength or range of motion but it should only be temporary. The discomfort felt after physiotherapy is usually due to strengthening weak muscles, which is similar to what someone would feel after a workout at the gym.
During your WIN appointment we want to know when you are feeling pain and how it feels. For example is it sharp, dull, throbbing, etc., as this will help us to determine another treatment course that will not irritate or exacerbate your symptoms. Open communication with the therapist is very important for successful outcomes. We look forward helping you reach your success at WIN health Solutions physiotherapy!!