Occasional flare ups- a normal phase to the rehab process

There are two key focuses when managing pathologies. We often rely on the relationship that exists between signs and symptoms and disease diagnosis. Theoretically, when managing a pathology, its signs and symptoms should decrease. However, it is important to keep in mind that this does not always apply to everyone. People dealing with chronic pathologies often have fluctuating symptoms. These symptoms can cause what we call flare ups of their pathologies. These can be related to exacerbations and remissions and the lack of an identifiable ‘cure’.

Perception of pain

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a perfect example of a chronic pathology. OA has fluctuating, often unpredictable, joint pain and functional limitations. A pathology as such can be an extensive management journey with many flare-ups along the way. It is normal for a person to develop psychological coping strategies. In time, these strategies may become inseparable components of the pathology itself. This provides a complex relationship between the pathology and functional outcomes.

Pain is the main reason that motivates a person with arthritis to seek medical care. Each person has a different perception of pain they develop through integrated patterns of neural networks. Life experiences can also relate to pain and coping mechanisms. These ultimately shape these neural patterns and activate perceptual and behavioural responses. These responses to pain are unique to that person.

How we can help

Recent studies have shown self-efficacy is a major influence in determining a person’s physical function. Rehabilitation is important for addressing factors such as balance and pain. They also provide the psychosocial domain of self-efficacy. Therapists support people with any chronic condition in making gains in their function.

If you ever experience a minor setback during your journey, remember – it is okay! MD Health are here to help with both the physical and psychological aspects of your diagnosis. We are here to offer motivation to keep you on track of your journey. Whether this is through reassurance, clarification, or simply just to listen. We are here to support you! If you wish for a thorough review, we encourage booking a one-on-one session. This allows our staff to extensively assess the area and apply the next step towards the treatment plan.



Harrison, A., The Influence of Pathology, Pain, Balance, and Self-efficacy on Function in Women With Osteoarthritis of the Knee. (2004). Physical Therapy.84.9.822.

Nwosu, L., Mapp, P., Chapman, V., & Walsh, D. (2016). Relationship between structural pathology and pain behaviour in a model of osteoarthritis (OA). Osteoarthritis And Cartilage24(11), 1910-1917.




Want to know more?


If you would like more information or have any questions about the importance of glute strength and how exercise can help improve this please comment below!

Or are you a new client and would like to book for a FREE full body assessment with one of our Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologists? Book online, call us on 03 9857 0644 (Kew East), 03 9842 6696 (Doncaster East) or send us an email at admin@mdhealth.com.au

Source: The Brain: A User’s Guide – purchase here
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