The Vital Role of Physical Examination in Chronic Pain Management


When dealing with chronic pain, the significance of having a skilled and experienced physician cannot be overstated. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis is the first step towards effective pain management. In this article, we will explore the essential role of physical examination in treating chronic pain, as explained by Dr Brian Blick , an esteemed physician based in Elk City.

Assessment and Tailored Treatment Plans

The physical examination serves as the foundation for devising appropriate treatment plans for chronic pain. Through this assessment, healthcare practitioners can determine the location and severity of the pain while identifying other contributing factors to the symptoms. Factors such as range of motion, muscle strength, reflexes, and sensory perception are evaluated to gain a comprehensive understanding of how they intertwine with chronic illnesses or injuries.

Identifying Underlying Conditions

Often, the root cause of chronic pain may not be immediately apparent from the symptoms alone. The physical examination becomes a valuable tool in identifying conditions that may be causing or contributing to the pain. For instance, in the case of back pain and a history of smoking, a physician may consider the possibility of lung cancer that has metastasized to the spine. By ruling out other potential causes of back pain, healthcare providers can initiate the most appropriate treatment for both the back pain and the underlying condition.

Addressing Contributing Factors

A thorough physical examination can reveal various contributing factors to chronic pain that might be overlooked otherwise. Poor posture and abnormal gait patterns, for example, can significantly impact chronic low back pain. When these factors are recognized, a physical therapist can design targeted exercises to improve posture and gait, leading to a reduction or elimination of pain.

Determining Pain Severity

Understanding the severity of pain is crucial in formulating a treatment plan. The physical examination provides valuable information about the intensity and frequency of pain experienced by the patient. This knowledge aids in tailoring interventions to address the specific needs of the individual. For instance, if a patient experiences headaches solely at night, it may indicate a different cause than muscle tension or stress-related headaches during the day. Identifying these patterns enables physicians to recommend appropriate medication or therapy for more targeted relief.

Holistic Approach to Pain Management

The physical examination forms an integral part of a holistic approach to pain management. Instead of merely focusing on treating the symptoms, this approach seeks to address the underlying causes and contributing factors of chronic pain. By taking into account the patient’s medical history, lifestyle, and individual needs, healthcare practitioners can design a comprehensive treatment plan that considers all aspects of the patient’s well-being.


Dr Brian Blick MD emphasizes the indispensable role of the physical examination in chronic pain management. From assessing the pain and its severity to identifying underlying conditions and contributing factors, this examination serves as the cornerstone for developing effective treatment plans. By adopting a holistic approach that considers the unique needs of each patient, healthcare providers can offer more targeted and successful pain management strategies, significantly improving the quality of life for those suffering from chronic pain.