The Importance of Physical Therapy Pain Assessment
Physical therapy pain assessment is an integral component of clinical practice and plays a major role in formulating a therapeutic plan. Before beginning any rehabilitation program, it’s essential to assess patients’ levels of discomfort and their responses to treatment; failing to do so could lead to disappointing results.
Physical therapists use pain assessment tools and techniques to accurately gauge a patient’s level of discomfort, as well as its impact on daily function and quality of life. These may include self-report, verbal observation, electronic evaluation and manual pain assessment.
The Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) is an assessment tool composed of 15 questions and illustrated on paper to measure pain intensity. It features a scale for rating intensity, additional comments space, and whether pain is interfering with daily life or not.
Movement and exercise are essential parts of any therapy program, as movement has been proven to reduce pain. Your physical therapist will work together with you to identify movements that will benefit your condition, and may also incorporate modalities like heat, ice or electrical stimulation into the rehabilitation plan.
Your physical therapist is an expert in movement and will help you find ways to move more efficiently without causing further injury or tissue damage. This will enable you to return to normal activities faster and help prevent long-term health complications.
Psychologically informed treatment is an integral element of physical therapy, as research has demonstrated the connection between psychological factors such as anxiety, depression and fear and physical discomfort. These issues can be addressed through customized education and home programs tailored to your individual needs through your physical therapy regimen.
Students who participated in the Pain elective course scored 10% higher on the Neurophysiology of Pain Questionnaire (NPQ) after their third year, suggesting their knowledge about pain neurobiology had grown over time as part of their core pre-licensure curriculum. These findings are corroborated by Moseley and Hush’s surveys of trained clinicians and final semester entry level physical therapy students [14, 22].
This study supports previous reports that core pre-licensure courses improve students’ knowledge and attitudes toward working with people suffering from chronic pain, and these improvements persist when they return to the practice setting. These results highlight the necessity for adequate pain education and training for prelicensure students so they can develop skills necessary to competently assess and manage patients’ levels of discomfort as a member of an interdisciplinary team.
This study indicates the NPQ is a reliable and valid instrument to assess student knowledge of pain neurobiology, thus providing potential research topics. Therefore, physical therapists should take part in pain education that incorporates the latest insights and understandings into how pain works and affects both mind and body. This information can then be utilized to create an interdisciplinary approach to managing chronic pain conditions.