Feeling Better and Getting Better

July 30, 2019

Most people come into Newcastle Performance Physio in pain, or injured, or injured and in pain.

Understandably, they want to feel better. We want to help them with that.

Everyone has an idea, or experience, of what might do that.

If you have felt the benefit of something before, it’s fair enough you would like to use that thing to feel better now.

Pain is an unpleasant experience that is designed to cause us to change something, do something, to avoid the situation continuing.

Most of the time it is a result of many factors, and it is always an individual experience.

Falling over and breaking your ankle is a fairly obvious reason for pain. Feeling better will require time and tissue healing.

More often than not pain is not because of damage, and is influenced by many factors like time, history, environment, sleep, health, stress and your own understanding.

Feeling better will still require time, but when there is a less recent, less obvious reason for things to hurt, it can be more difficult to predict when, or how, things will feel better.

There is, however, a difference between FEELING better and GETTING better.


Treatments chosen by health professionals are usually aimed at one or the other – symptoms, or recovery. Both would be great, and when you are in pain, particularly severe or persistent pain, you want the first one. I would too.


The cold, hard truth is…..


Pain relief is really hard to predict. I believe we need to careful promising it.

Unless you’re an anaesthetist in the operating suite.

We can promise it can CHANGE, but promising that we can definitely relieve it, or when, is not something that can be done reliably. Certainly suggesting that another person needs to do it for you is being dishonest or arrogant or ignorant. Or all 3.


Now, before you scoff and remember how your (insert therapist here) is magic and “fixed” your (insert pain here) there are a few things to keep in mind.


1.Most things that are painful get less painful over time.

I know this isn’t always the case. But it is the case a lot, and our brains do not think of it when it does happen.


  1. The effects of many treatments are not due to the treatment.

This isn’t saying they do nothing, just that they aren’t doing anything specific. Talking to someone, lying down and relaxing, human contact, being told a treatment will work and believing it does. These things have an effect and are common in many treatments you may find in clinics.


  1. What one person finds great, many others find useless.

Pain is such an individual experience, with so many contributors, that the effects of many different interactions are very hard to predict when you look at more than one person.


This isn’t encouraging you to not seek help.

Far from it.

Being in a lot of pain, pain for a long time and being injured are situations that are extremely difficult to deal with. Dealing with it alone is not easy and less likely to be successful.


The good news is that improving your ability to do things generally decreases symptoms anyway. We can help you work out how to get better at doing what you want. But pure pain relief is not done very well by health professionals, no matter what anyone thinks.

Don’t let health professionals take credit for things that your body is doing anyway.


Ultimately, when it comes to choosing your healthcare provider, ask yourself a couple of questions.


What do I really want?

What am I paying for?


If you are paying for pain relief, the things that have a track record of being effective are actually free – sleep, meaningful activity, conscious relaxation and enjoying yourself.


Now if you have a significant injury or pain episode, these things will help, but there will likely be more to do. You will need to work at improving your ability to do the things that you want to do.

You will need help to do this well, and to do it in a way that decreases your risk of needing to do it again, or in a way that gives you the ability to control what needs to be done yourself.

Many times when we ask people the first question, the answer isn’t pain relief. The answer is – I want to get back running – I want to play with the kids – I want to feel strong again


This is how we would define GETTING BETTER. This is what we would recommend investing in.

This is what we focus on in our clinic.

We do not ignore your symptoms, not at all. We are just honest about what can be done about them. Especially what we can do.


It is not for everyone and we know that. You have every right to choose the treatment you like for the problem you have.

Our hope is that your choice is made in possession of actual facts about what treatments can and cannot do, and the great, many things that you are capable of yourself.

What I will say is this.

If you are spending a lot of money and time trying to keep feeling better.

If you are constantly being treated to just maintain where you are.

If you feel like a car that needs constant “servicing”.

Then you need to GET BETTER.


Pain and Injury are significant issues that affect the quality of people’s lives.

Much of the burden of these problems has been created by treatments that don’t actually get people better. In fact many of them create patients for life – the constant need for “maintenance” to try and stay out of pain.

This is not helping anyone.

You have our promise that we will deliver the best of what is currently known to help you with your problem, even if – especially if – that means we send you to someone else.

If we get you better, we guarantee you will feel better.

The process of getting better will make you feel better.

Knowing you CAN get better will make you feel better.