A note to the musculoskeletal physiotherapist

J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2012;25(2):103-7. doi: 10.3233/BMR-2012-0317.


Musculoskeletal (formerly manipulative) physiotherapy is widely used for the rehabilitation of patients with common musculoskeletal pain and related disability. As part of its progress from largely empirical beginnings to becoming basic sciences informed this sub-specialty of the physiotherapy profession has developed a profound interest in pain mechanisms, causal and therapeutic. It is of some concern, however, that the use of pain terminology and classification among the fraternity has tended to be typically idiosyncratic and at times inaccurate. This is not only confusing to followers of the wider medical science literature. It also compromises clear communication between the physiotherapist and fellow orthodox health care professionals. This 'note' restates the acknowledged pain terminology and its applicability to recognised pain categories.

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / complications
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / diagnosis*
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / etiology
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / therapy*
  • Physical Therapists / education*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Terminology as Topic