Our mental and emotional health plays a huge role in our overall wellness and quality of life. Although physiotherapy is usually associated with physical rehabilitation and pain relief, our services can also help improve mental wellbeing. One of the best parts about our job is the ability to educate patients about how to manage and prevent their pain, both physically and mentally. While our clinic is focused on being the first line of defence against physical pain, our patients are often delighted to discover that physiotherapy has also helped improve their emotional health. In today’s blog, we want to highlight some of the ways physiotherapy can help alleviate emotional pain and boost your overall mood.

Reduce Pain and Stress

Most people who experience physical pain are well aware of the mental distress it can cause. It goes without saying that the experience of pain and stress will have negative impacts on your overall mood and mental health. Physiotherapy aims to help relieve any feelings of physical pain and can therefore also alleviate feelings of stress and emotional duress. Our patients often describe this pain relief as the removal of a physical and emotional burden that they no longer need to constantly worry about or stress over. During and after meeting with our team, these patients better understand their pain and know how to prevent it – giving them back control and allowing their brains to focus their energy elsewhere.

Outside of pain relief, most people also experience what is known as “runner’s high” after completing a workout or physiotherapy exercise. This sensation is often associated with feelings of happiness, increased pain tolerance, and reduced levels of stress during and after completing an exercise. This is because physical activity releases endorphins which are the chemicals in your brain that are linked to reduced perceptions of stress and pain. Essentially, your body experiences a sort of chemical high after finishing a challenging or new exercise, similar to feelings of achievement and reward. Working through your rehabilitation plan and meeting your exercise goals will give you this boost of happiness and achievement.

Regulate Your Mood

Doing the physical activity associated with physiotherapy also releases other mood-regulating chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters, including endorphins, are released when your brain detects physical activity as a way to reward your body. As you know now, endorphins are associated with feelings of “runner’s high” and are your body’s natural pain reliever. Many people don’t know that endorphins are actually processed by the same receptors as codeine and morphine, so they have a similar effect without the addictive qualities. Endorphins are activated immediately during feelings of exercise pain but do not significantly accumulate in your bloodstream until about an hour later. This explains why we often feel great directly after a challenging workout!

Serotonin is known as the “feel-good” chemical that helps regulate mood and enhance feelings of happiness and positivity. This complicated hormone is considered one of the key neurotransmitters released during exercise that enhances positive mood and can also be increased through sunlight exposure, massage, and meditation. Dopamine is known as the reward hormone that provides feelings of satisfaction and achievement after completing an exercise. Think of this neurotransmitter as your body’s way of thanking you for the exercise, showing you that it enjoys it, and encouraging you to do it again. Lastly, norepinephrine helps regulate stress and provides your brain with motivation during and after a workout. Norepinephrine is the culprit of making you feel invincible and ready to tackle anything after completing a workout. Releasing all of these neurotransmitters will also help regulate your sleep schedule! We have all suffered from a lack of sleep that leaves us cranky and irritable the next morning. Doing your physiotherapy exercises can also help you get a good night’s sleep by improving sleep quality and duration.

Increase Your Confidence

Lack of self-confidence is often closely tied to struggling with emotional pain and mental health. Our physiotherapists create rehabilitation plans that set achievable goals for our patients, help and encourage our patients to reach their goals, and aid them in seeing results. This formula for success can actually help boost your morale and self-esteem. Our expert team of Absolute Physiotherapists develop rehab plans that are tailored to your unique needs and capabilities. We create theses plans to be timebound and measurable so that we can track your progress and adjust as we work with you. We love to see our patients discover just how much their bodies are capable of! This sense of achievement provides patients with short-term benefits, like rewarding feelings of happiness, relaxation, and control, and longterm benefits such as improved muscle strength and the desire to keep physically active.

Not only will physiotherapy help you look and feel great, but it will also give you back a sense of control. Unlike other health plans including surgery or medication, physiotherapy allows you to closely monitor your progress from injury or pain to recovery. Our rehab plans require our patients to take an active role in their recovery or pain relief program meaning they feel more responsible for their own improvements. Physiotherapy allows you to have more control over the process which in turn boosts your confidence and self-esteem.

We hope that this blog helped open your eyes to some of the many benefits of physiotherapy that people do not often think about. While our services focus on healing our patients from feelings of physical pain, we approach our rehabilitation plans by aiming to heal the whole person. For this reason, we encourage you to consider adding us to your team of healthcare providers to treat your body and mind. Give us a call at (519)880-1733 or fill out our contact form with any questions and to learn how physiotherapy can enhance your overall quality of life. We’re also always happy to help answer any general physiotherapy and wellness questions, provide you with health tips, and schedule a consultation.