Gotta have faith: believing in physiotherapy makes it work better

Patients with shoulder pain heal faster if they have faith in their physio treatment: study

Referring a patient with shoulder pain to a physiotherapist is more likely to work if the person believes the exercise treatment will be successful, a UK study shows.

Further, a patient’s confidence in their ability to complete tasks despite their shoulder pain, or their ‘pain self-efficacy’, also affects the likelihood of recovery, the researchers say.

“What surprised us was that patients who had said they expected to ‘completely recover’ as a result of physiotherapy did even better than patients who expected to ‘much improve’,” Rachel Chester, a physiotherapy lecturer at the University of East Anglia, writes in a Conversation piece.

“Another surprise finding was that people with high baseline pain and disability but with high levels of pain self-efficacy did as well as, and sometimes better than, people with low baseline pain and disability, and low pain self-efficacy.”

In their study,