Physiotherapy for chronic or persistent pain aims to help people live well with chronic and persistent pain conditions. 

Pain management physiotherapists work with a team of professionals in pain management teams that also include specialist doctors, nurses, psychologists, and therapy assistants. 

The strategies a pain physiotherapist uses tend to look very different from what you may have experienced before with physiotherapy. 

Treatments that work well for short-term pain conditions do not work so well for chronic pain, so our strategies have to change to meet your needs. We view your pain as a long-term condition, focusing on living well rather than pain reduction. 

Our philosophy for each patient is to think about how pain impacts a person as a whole. This is considered internationally to be the most effective way of managing chronic and persistent pain.

Referrals to pain physiotherapy will always be through the pain team. This is important, as you will be assessed by the multidisciplinary team when you enter a pain service, and a referral to pain physiotherapy is usually just one part of your overall treatment plan. 

Your GP will usually make referrals to the pain service. 

Some healthcare professionals within the hospital can also refer into the pain service.

Once you have been referred to pain management physiotherapy, you will have an initial assessment. 

Our physiotherapists use a holistic approach in assessments to explore and understand how your pain impacts your life. 

They then discuss a variety of strategies and small changes you can implement to make life more meaningful for you as an individual. 

After your initial assessment, strategies that might be recommended include:

  • how to understand your pain better 
  • how to manage flare-ups 
  • improving your quality of sleep 
  • activity management 
  • eating for health 
  • mindfulness 
  • general health and wellbeing strategies

The sessions will focus on your goals to make small changes and implement self-management strategies to help you live well with persistent pain. 

The pain toolkit

Pain management strategies by an ‘expert patient’.