The 8th of September every year signifies World Physiotherapy Day and offers an opportunity for our profession to raise awareness about the crucial contribution physical therapists make to society, enabling people to be mobile, well, and independent. This day was designated in 1996 by the World Confederation for Physical Therapy. The day marks the unity and solidarity of the physical therapy community around the world. It is an opportunity to recognise the work that physical therapists do for their patients and community.
This year the campaign focussed around the theme of CHRONIC PAIN and the role that physical therapy and physical activity can have in helping people manage chronic pain.
Chronic pain is a significant global health burden, with low back pain causing more disability than any other condition.
For many chronic pain can make life difficult, which can lead to fear, avoidance and escape behaviours. Physiotherapy helps people with chronic pain develop the skills they need to manage and take control of their condition, increase their activity and improve their quality of life.
How will a physiotherapist work with you?
A physiotherapist will:
help you understand how pain is a built-in alarm system that with chronic pain is often too easily triggered
help you reduce the fear you associate with pain
help you to change your beliefs and behaviours
educate you about your condition and management options
encourage you to take part in physical activity in a safe way
explore long-term strategies to build confidence
guide you through the process of taking part in painful, scary or avoided activities to regain control
help you remain or return to work
Exercise is an effective treatment to relieve chronic pain. Physiotherapists have unique skills to recommend specific exercise programmes
How you can use exercise to take back control:
Start slowly with your physiotherapist who will help you identify and achieve your goals using graded activities and an exercise programme.
Your physiotherapist will help increase your understanding of pain - this will reduce your fear of harming yourself and give you greater control over the pain.
As you begin to move more and take part in more activities you should notice that you can do more with less pain.
You will learn to focus on what you can do, despite the pain, to enjoy a greater quality of life.
Benefits of exercise for chronic pain:
Flexibility Maintain flexibility and movement
Cardiovascular Important for cardiovascular health
Strength Builds and keeps muscle tone
Mood Improves mood and general wellbeing
Pain management Helps control pain and increases confidence to take part in activities
Take control Take back control of your life and reduce your fear
Thanks to WCPT (World Confederation for Physical Therapy) who has produced a toolkit of materials to support physical therapists and their organisations in their World Physical Therapy Day activities.
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