Know Pain, Know Gain? A Perspective on Pain Neuroscience Education in Physical Therapy

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2016 Mar;46(3):131-4. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2016.0602.


Chronic pain is incredibly complex, and so are decisions as to its treatment. During physical therapy care, pain neuroscience education (PNE) aims to help patients understand more about their pain from a biological and physiological perspective. Accompanying the growing evidence for the ability of PNE to reduce pain and disability in patients with chronic pain is an increased interest in PNE from scientists, educators, clinicians, and conference organizers. However, the rise in popularity of PNE has highlighted a historical paradox of increased knowledge not necessarily corresponding with improved care. This Viewpoint discusses the growth and popularity of PNE as well as critical future considerations such as clinical application, clinical research, appropriate outcome measures, and the blending of pain education with exercise and manual therapy.

Keywords: chronic pain; outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Pain*
  • Humans
  • Neurosciences / education*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Physical Therapy Specialty