In August 2019 the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network updated their practice guidelines on the management of chronic pain, analyzing different medications and treatment strategies. This report was approved by the National Health System of the UK.
Treatment options not involving drugs are easily accessible with your physiotherapist and allied health providers. The following options were found effective to reduce the burden of chronic pain on people’s lives:
• Manual therapy/ hands-on treatment: the physiotherapist can treat and stimulate different areas with diverse manual techniques, promoting benefits on your movement and function. It is effective for short-term relief of pain and improvement of function in chronic low back pain. These therapies can be used with other strategies, like exercise. For chronic neck pain, it has been shown that combining exercise with manual therapy can provide long-term improvement in pain and disability. Spinal manipulation on the mid back area can have positive effects on neck pain. As for headaches caused by neck problems, manual therapy can reduce pain at least on the short-term, with nine to twelve treatments being superior to only three.
• Acupuncture: should be considered for short term relief on chronic low back pain and osteoarthritis.
• Exercise: regardless of its form, exercise is recommended in the management of patients with chronic pain. A few modalities are already established, generally with similar results: aerobic and strengthening training, exercises for trunk and core muscles, Tai chi, pilates, yoga, aquatic exercise. Supervised exercise improves adherence to a regular exercise routine.
• TENS machines and low-level laser therapy can help to manage chronic pain.
• Omega 3 (fish oil): effective in reducing joint pain (osteoarthritis).
Discuss with your physiotherapist these treatment options and how they can be applicable to your chronic condition.
Diego Diehl, PT, APAM
161 Haly Street
Kingaroy, QLD 4610
(07) 4162 7272