Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy

American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)

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The intent of this quarterly webinar series is to provide you with the latest information on pain education, practice, research, engagement and advocacy and give you the opportunity to present your questions to leaders in the field.

Fall 2018 Pain SIG Webinar

Planned for Winter, 2019

Title: Mechanism Based Approach to Physical Therapy Pain Management

Presenter: Kathleen Sluka, PT, PhD, FAPTA​​

Description: The ability to identify and understand underlying mechanisms that give rise to pain is an essential prerequisite to the successful treatment of the patient in pain. This course will provide an overview of the current scientific research on peripheral, central and neuropathic contributors to the generation of pain. How the movement system and psychological factors impact pain will be identified. The role of common physical therapy treatments for pain, such as education, exercise, manual therapy and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, in modifying pain mechanisms will be presented. The understanding of pain mechanisms and individual treatment strategies tailored to address these mechanisms will provide the conceptual framework for the clinician to more effectively care for patients in pain.


Dr. Kathleen Sluka is a Professor at the University of Iowa in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. She is a physical therapist, neuroscientist, and clinical researcher with an active research program focusing on mechanisms of pain and non-pharmacological treatments of pain, as well as clinical efficacy and implementation of non-pharmacological approaches for pain. She has published over 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts, written the book Pain Mechanisms and Management for Physical Therapists, and regularly speaks at national and international meetings. She is actively involved in the International Association for the Study of Pain, the American Pain Society, and the American Physical Therapy Association.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Based on the biopsychosocial model of pain, identify 5 mechanisms that contribute to the generation of pain (nociceptive, neuropathic, nociplastic (central), motor, psychosocial)
  2. Identify clinical factors that suggest nociceptive, nociplastic (central), neuropathic or psychosocial mechanisms that contribute to pain.
  3. Discuss how physical therapy treatments modulate the underlying mechanisms that give rise to pain and tailor treatment choices to address these mechanisms.

Instructions for registration and participation to come.

Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy
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