Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

With Chronic Pain, Education Drives Immediate Improvements in Function

April 21, 2020

Physical therapists are great at educating our patients about their bodies. We have anatomical models, slick videos, and analogies to teach you all about how your body works. While this helps patients understand the underlying mechanisms causing their pain, we are leaving one very important thing out: THE PAIN! Very few providers explain to you what pain is and how it works, opting instead to grab the spine model hanging in the corner. Understanding pain is critical to managing symptoms long term.


For those in chronic pain it can be especially beneficial to understand the science of how pain works. A study by Louw and colleagues showed that pain education alone can immediately improve a patient’s function. In the study, participants with chronic low back pain were educated on the science of pain including its underlying causes, mechanisms that alter pain intensity, and strategies to reduce pain sensitivity. Following the education participants demonstrated immediate improvements in nerve tightness and their ability to bend forward. And this is without any manual therapy or exercises being performed!


Pain is caused by a complex network of factors. Understanding these factors can immediately change your function and the experience of your pain.