“I have gone through many sessions of physiotherapy and my pain has reduced greatly but it is still there!”

Does this sound like you? If it does, keep reading!

Let me introduce to you the biopsychosocial model of pain. You need to know that pain is the sum of biological, psychological, and social factors. What are they?


The Biological


Pain is usually caused by a disruption or dysfunction in our body system. A physiotherapist’s job is to identify the problems in your musculoskeletal system (your bones, muscles, and joints) that may be causing your pain. A broken bone, a strained muscle or a nerve impingement are examples of biological factors to your pain. In many cases, treating the biological factors can manage the pain.


The Psychological


Our patients are less aware of how psychological factors may affect their pain. Studies have shown that negative emotions can influence the experience of pain negatively. In other words, patients with symptoms of depression, anxiety or emotional distress reported of higher intensity of pain. In the same way, patient who are more optimistic reported of lower sensitivity to pain. Did you notice that your pain seems to be more bearable after your physiotherapist explains your condition to you because there is less anxiety around your pain now?


The Social


The social factors that can influence the experience of pain are social support and social interactions with other people surrounding the patient. Research has found that patients with supportive parents or spouses reported of lower intensity of pain and disability. In addition, factors such as poverty, education and culture can also influence our experience of pain. Have you ever witnessed a child crying louder from pain when parents react excessively to a gentle fall?


Why should we know this?


When you go through physiotherapy, you are in control of the biological factor that is causing your pain, but it is important to also address the psychological and social factors to manage your pain more efficiently. The way forward is around or over our obstacles. Now go tackle them!





Meints, S. M., & Edwards, R. R. (2018). Evaluating psychosocial contributions to chronic pain outcomes. Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology & biological psychiatry, 87(Pt B), 168–182. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2018.01.017



Prepared By

Chen Wei vvy

Your Physio Klang

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