How We Treat Pain With a Holistic Approach

At Tailored health, we use the best quality evidence to treat our clients. When treating pain, the current best evidence is to use a Biopsychosocial approach.

But what exactly is the Biopsychosocial model of care?

Times have changed. In the past, we have relied on a pure biomechanical model to assess and treat pain (that is, find the ‘broken’ body part, and ‘fix’ it to the best of our abilities). However, as research has developed we know more than ever about how pain works within the body. The most up-to-date evidence suggests a Biopsychosocial model of care results in the most superior patient outcomes.

The whole concept can be explained by the phrase, ‘treat the person, not the condition.’ The same pathology is two people will present differently, and can be influenced not only by the ‘bio (ie, the tissue injury present), but also the psychological and social factors of the individual. Treating the person will allow for an individualised and tailored approach for each person as opposed to a more generic pathology-based model.

This takes the focus of treatment onto the secondary pathologies that are specific for that person. For an example, lets look at someone with low back pain. On top of the physical feeling of pain, this person has trouble completing chores around the house, they feel anxious about how much pain they might be in and as a result, they have low energy for everything else they need to do. A management approach that accounts for these three aspects is going to have such a greater impact opposed to a plan to treat just the site of pain.

Past models of care may have involved massage and stretching to attempt to ‘fix’ the biological spot thought to cause the pain. While there is still a place for these modalities, the biopsychosocial model gets more specific for that person and other factors influencing their pain, and how pain limits their every day activities. Treatment modalities from the Biopsychosocial model of care can further include:

  • Graded exposure to movement to build up functional tolerance for activities that are challenging around the house
  • A management plan for anxiety to desensitize the nervous system
  • A plan to improve energy by building on sleep and nutrition routines and habits
  • Addressing the individualised psychological aspects of a persons pain

These are just examples of how to apply a biopsychosocial approach to someone with low back pain.

Treating the person within their life and returning that person back to the normal activities of life will make them feel more empowered and in control, even if they still have some back pain.

Are you someone experiencing pain with treatments seeming to fall short? Perhaps a new type of treatment thorough a Biopsychosocial model of care might be for you.

To learn more, contact our team, or book in for an appointment below.


Booth J, Moseley GL, Schiltenwolf M, Cashin A, Davies M, Hübscher M. Exercise for chronic musculoskeletal pain a biopsychosocial approach. Musculoskeletal care. 2017 Dec;15(4)413-21.

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