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Occupational Therapy for Pain Management

Activities that occupy time and provide meaning are known as occupations. Participating in meaningful occupations creates the essence of who we are as individuals. Occupational therapy carries the belief that performing meaningful occupations supports our physical and psychological health and well-being. When we are injured or experience pain, the ability to perform our occupations is impacted.

The following 3 videos demonstrate portable relaxation techniques that can be used to manage pain. They were designed to be portable, meaning they can be done anywhere, enabling you to do your day-to-day activities. Portable relaxation is a concept described in Miranda Thew’s portable relaxation chapter in the book, Lifestyle Management in Health and Social Care.

The Physiology of Breath

Our autonomic nervous system regulates how our body responds to stress and pain, and whether we’re responding from a fight-or-flight or relaxed state. As babies we start breathing into our belly, but as we get older, we start breathing into our chests. However, breathing into the chest shortens the breath, increases the heart rate, signals the sympathetic nervous system to respond from fight-or-flight, even when not in a stressful situation.

Belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing, lengthens the breath, decreases the heart rate, and signals the parasympathetic nervous system to place the body in a relaxed state (Tortora and Derrickson, 2015).

Video 1 – Belly Breathing

Video 2 – Tranquility

Video 3 – Body Scan


We recognise that these techniques may need to be practiced and that not all of them will work for everybody, but we hope they provide many of you with a lifelong resource that you can use and adapt to fit your lifestyle.

You can search for occupational therapists across the country on the Royal College of Occupational Therapists website.

Disclaimer: These techniques were developed during a Role Emerging Placement by students on the MSc occupational therapy programme at Leeds Beckett University.

Podcast - Talking with a Physiocure® patient about how pain has impacted her life

Disclaimer: This audio recording was edited for reasons of confidentiality.


  • Thew, M. (2008) Portable Relaxation for Everyday Living. In: Thew, M. and McKenna, J. Lifestyle Management in Health and Social Care. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
  • Tortora, G. and Derrickson, B. (2015) Introduction to the Human Body. 10th edition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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Physiotherapy is the assessment and treatment of problems and injuries that affect muscles, joints, nerves and soft tissues.

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Sports Therapy

Sports Therapy is the assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries. Treatment may involve exercise prescription, advice, hands-on therapy, electrotherapy and taping.

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Graded manipulations of the spine or other joints to restore movement, relieve pain and aid postural correction.

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Soft Tissue Mobilisations

Myofascial release, trigger point massage, deep transverse frictions, muscle energy techniques, positional release, cupping and massage.

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Sports Massage

Deep massage tailored to your needs for injury prevention, therapeutic benefits and pre and post events.

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Dry needling and electroacupuncture for relief of pain and muscle spasm. Sterile disposable needles are used.

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One to one sessions available with a Chartered Physiotherapist or Pilates instructor in our private studio.

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Injury Rehabilitation

One to one personal training tailored to your individual requirements for pre/post op and injury rehabilitation

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Biomechanical assessment of the foot and lower limb. Treatment may include exercises, strapping, manipulation and insoles.

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The use of both Psychotherapeutic Counselling and Clinical Hypnotherapy for a wide range of issues.

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What our clients say about us

  • Over the last 10 years I have consistently referred patients to the team at Physiocure. The bespoke treatment Anna and Louise offer patients is ideal for the complex hip patients we have in the practice.

    Jon Conroy BSc.MSc.MB.ChB. FRCS (Tr & Orth) Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

  • Anna and Louise at Physiocure have been treating patients from the Yorkshire Knee Clinic for over 15 years with excellent results. Together with their team of highly professional colleagues, they are able to provide comprehensive assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for our patients.

    Nick London, MA MD (Cantab) FRCS (Tr & Orth) Specialist Knee Surgeon The Yorkshire Knee Clinic, Harrogate, Leeds

  • I have worked with Louise and all the team at Physiocure for a number of years. Both herself and Anna run an excellent practice combining up-to-date knowledge, a wealth of experience and a highly motivated team.

    Professor Max Fehily, Consultant Hip Surgeon, Manchester Hip Clinic

  • I have worked with Anna and Louise for many years now and found them to be exceptional physiotherapists. They have successfully treated many of my more complex shoulder patients, as well as athletes.

    Lennard Funk, BSc MSc FRCS(Tr&Orth) FFSEM(UK), Shoulder Surgeon, Wrightington Hospital

  • I travelled 5 hours by car from my home in Sussex for two days of intensive sessions with many different people in the Physiocure team. I can say without any reservation that not only was it more than worth the trip, but that I would and will do it again, because the care, concern, dedication and professionalism of everyone I encountered at Physiocure was absolutely outstanding.

    Camilla Black, Sussex

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