Therapeutic Neuroscience Education, Pain, Physiotherapy and the Pain Neuromatrix
Adriaan Louw, Emilio J Puentedura

Background and Purpose: Chronic pain is often associated with faulty cognitions and beliefs. One approach to alter cognitions and beliefs is to teach patients about the neurophysiology and neurobiology of their pain experience through therapeutic neuroscience education [TNE]. Mounting evidence has shown the benefit of TNE for patients with chronic pain by easing pain, decreasing disability and pain catastrophization, increasing physical movements and increasing adherence to therapeutic treatments such as exercise. Whether TNE is able to help a patient with chronic pain reconceptualize the role of a specific profession in relation to their pain is yet to be determined. The purpose of this study was to examine if an educational session, specifically aimed at increasing a patient’s knowledge of how pain works physiologically and biologically, could alter a patient’s view of physiotherapy. Methods: A questionnaire was developed, validated and used to measure patient attitudes and beliefs regarding physiotherapy. A 3-hour educational session on TNE was delivered to 10 patients with fibromyalgia [FM] in a lecture format allowing for questions, answers and interactive discussion. Questionnaires were administered before and after the TNE session. Results: Ten female patients with FM with 14.2 years of pain underwent TNE. Patients underwent a positive shift in all categories associated with physiotherapy. Two shifts reached statistical significance (p < 0.05) associated with physiotherapy’s ability to explain the pain (p = 0.011) and helping patients understand their pain better (p=.018). Discussion: The current study provides preliminary results showing that an educational session teaching patients with chronic pain about the neurophysiology and neurobiology of pain may in fact help them reconceptualize the role of physiotherapy. This enhanced view of physiotherapy may be yet another important benefit of TNE and the overall recovery of the patient.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijhs.v2n3a4