Back pain, shoulder pain, headaches, osteoarthritis – we all know someone living with these conditions. Globally it is estimated that one in five people, or about 1.5 billion people, live with chronic pain, with prevalence increasing as we age.

This World Physiotherapy Day 2019 (Sunday 8 September) the APA wants the 5 million Australians living in chronic pain – defined as persistent pain that impacts a person’s quality of life and ability to work and socialise normally – to better understand the role physiotherapy, education and physical activity plays in effectively managing chronic pain.

Physiotherapists support people with chronic pain to improve function, achieve their goals and enjoy a better quality of life and should be part of every health team treating chronic pain says Dianne Wilson, chair of the APA national pain group.

“Physiotherapists have the clinical expertise to educate people with chronic pain and guide them through a supervised exercise program, setting appropriate goals for their needs and stepping up the program as these goals are achieved.

“Physios are also best placed to offer reassurance to patients who fear that exercise will increase their pain. We see many patients who come into our clinics with a very significant fear of pain, and as a result they tend to avoid any type of movement or exercise. Pain, however, is a protective mechanism – even if an activity feels painful, it is not always an accurate indication of doing harm.

“While it may seem counter-intuitive, maintaining movement is the best thing people in chronic pain can do. Movement helps the body heal and boosts the immune system, whereas avoiding healthy activities often leads to an increase of disability and further loss of well-being.”

If you or someone you know has chronic pain, take the first step to improving quality of life by seeking help from an experienced physiotherapist today. Visit

Five facts about chronic pain:

  • Globally, lower back pain causes more disability than any other condition
  • Only about 1-5% of lower back pain is caused by serious disease or injury
  • Chronic pain is Australia’s third most costly health burden and the leading cause of early retirement and work absenteeism, costing the economy more than $73 billion per year
  • Levels of psychological distress are six times higher for those living with chronic pain, while 40% of sufferers report symptoms of anxiety and/or depression
  • Physios have unique skills to evaluate the biopsychosocial needs of patients in chronic pain conditions.

#choosephysio #worldptday #chronicpain


Dianne Wilson is available for further comment.  


Related tags