A physical therapist’s role in pain management: A biopsychosocial perspective

Kara Edgerton, Jarod Hall, Michelle K. Bland, Blaine Marshall, Ryan Hulla, Robert J. Gatchel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Aim: People suffering with chronic pain have a decreased quality of life in both the physical and psychosocial dimensions. Popular treatment methods for a chronic pain patient are opioid prescriptions and surgery, which may not be beneficial to long-term outcomes in chronic pain patients, and may actually result in reducing a patient's overall health. Purpose: This review will examine the role of the physical therapist in treating chronic pain patients in regard to the biopsychosocial model. Reviewing chronic pain through a biopsychosocial perspective, screening, evaluation, intervention selection, and problems with programs adherence in regard to chronic pain patients in physical therapy will be discussed. Psychosocial components of chronic pain including fear of movement and depression are also examined in how they can hinder or interfere with physical therapy treatment and evaluation. Conclusion: When treating chronic pain patients, applying the biopsychosocial perspective to physical therapy with a focus on restoring physical function could provide the least invasive treatment for chronic pain patients with optimal outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12170
JournalJournal of Applied Biobehavioral Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • biopsychosocial
  • chronic pain
  • physical function
  • physical therapy
  • program adherence


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