Chronic Pain and PTSD: The Perpetual Avoidance Model and its Treatment Implications

This article examines the interplay between chronic pain and PTSD and treatment implications. Various risk factors, models and treatment recommendations are explored. The authors conclude that the treatment for traumatized patients suffering from PTSD and chronic pain should include a biopsychosocial approach, combining education about the maladaptive behaviors leading to disability, as well as exposure therapy, relaxation, biofeedback, and therapeutic exercise.

Increasing Activity and Improving Function in Chronic Pain Management

Chronic pain is a condition of complexity that requires a multi-dimensional approach. Unfortunately, not many patients who suffer from chronic pain are able to use a clinic or program that addresses chronic pain management due to their location or finances. The goal of this article is to give an overview of approaches that may be helpful to physiotherapists in their own practice relating to chronic pain.

Physiotherapy: Body-Centred Approach to Working with Victims of Torture and Trauma

By Veena O’Sullivan (Physiotherapist)* - BAppSc (Phty), MAppSc (Phty), Grad Dip (Counselling) Physical pain is rarely an isolated sensation, and is almost always accompanied by emotion and meaning. Traumatised clients tend to dissociate traumatic memory from feelings, as well as accompanying physiological sensations. Thus the emotional trauma gets trapped in the body, often somatised in the form of chronic physical pain. Clients are not necessarily able to identify that this is so, as the process is usually unconscious. In our physiotherapy sessions I guide clients to gain some insights as to how the body sensations, the feelings and images from traumatic experiences are inter-related. In doing so, clients gain a clearer awareness of the body-mind connections, and thereby are able to better understand how to prevent and/or release pain. ___ *Veena O’Sullivan has been a registered physiotherapist since 1981. She is a Sydney University graduate, with both undergraduate and post-graduate qualifications in physiotherapy (Bachelor and Master Degrees). She also has a Graduate Diploma in Counselling. She has worked both in Australia and overseas, with wide experience in clinical and academic settings. Currently, she works both in private physiotherapy practice and at STARTTS**. **STARTTS- Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors, Sydney Australia.

Restoring Hope and Childhoods

Ahmad*, an 11-year-old Syrian boy, was having a hard time managing his anger. In Syria, he had survived a grenade attack when he was mistaken for a soldier. His family sought safety in Amman, Jordan, but life was still not peaceful. Ahmad had violent outbursts. He was aggressive and hit his siblings. He had internalized the violence from his experiences in Syria into his own young body. Increasingly, our staff in Jordan is seeing children and young people like Ahmad who need mental health and physical therapycare to cope with their traumatic experiences. Now, more than a third of our clients in Jordan are under the age of 18. Syrian adults report that the well-being and potential of their children constitute their greatest source of stress. Parents worry constantly about what their children have seen and experienced.

CVT Physical Therapy Survey Results

In 2014, CVT conducted a Physiotherapy Survey. Through this survey, we hoped to learn about the physiotherapists working with torture survivors, the availability of physiotherapy services, and the types of clients receiving physiotherapy services. We sent surveys to roughly 200 email addresses and received 87 responses in English, French, and Spanish. The attached report shares the compiled data and findings.

WCPT Congress - Focused symposium: Pain Management

Video of WCPT Congress 2011 - Focused symposium: Teaching people about pain Speakers: Lorimer Moseley (Australia), David Butler (Australia), Michael Thacker (United Kingdom), Adriaan Louw (United States of America) This symposium brought several world leaders in pain education together. Every physiotherapist will deal with someone in pain. Evidence demonstrates that if they understand the true biology of pain instead of an outdated understanding of pain, their outcomes will be better. Taking this symposium will enable you to gain a basic understanding of what is currently known about the biology of pain and to be familiar with principles of conceptual change theory and evidence based strategies to teach people about pain. Integration of the International Association for the Study of Pain core curriculum and modern concepts of pain biology into clinical reasoning were also addressed.

Physiotherapy as empowerment : Treating women with chronic pelvic pain

Mattsson, M., Wilkman, M., Dahlberg, L. & Mattson, B. (2000). Advances in Physiotherapy, 2(3), 125-143.
reviewed by Aaron O’Donnell, University of Minnesota doctoral physical therapy student, 2014
This article is available free of charge from Dignity-Danish Institute Against Torture. Please email them at and include a list of desired articles and your mailing address.
Background: A large group of CPP (chronic pelvic pain) patients are “inexplicable” from a medical point of view.

Psychosomatic group treatment helps women with chronic pelvic pain

Albert, H. (1999). Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 20(4), 216-225.
Reviewed by Brittany Burton, doctoral physical therapy candidate from the University of Minnesota, 2014. 
Please email them at and include a list of desired articles and your mailing address.
Background: In this study, group treatment for women with chronic pelvic pain based on physical, psychosomatic and behavioral therapeutic principles of treatment was assessed.

Torture Survivors: Pain Pattern and Disability

Prip, K. (2005). Lunds University. 37 pages.
This booklet is available free of charge from Dignity-Danish Institute Against Torture. Please email them at and include a list of desired articles and your mailing address.
This booklet was reviewed by Victor Chow, doctoral physical therapy student at the University of Minnesota.
Background: In “Torture Survivors: Pain Pattern and Disability”, the researchers strived to categorize their subjective and objective findings regarding physical impairments of torture victims.


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