Pain Neuroscience Education for Acute Pain.

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Pain Neuroscience Education for Acute Pain.

Louw A, Schuemann T, Zimney K, Puentedura EJ.



In musculoskeletal and sports medicine, pain has traditionally been linked to tissue injury, often assuming a linear correlation between tissue damage and pain intensity. However, modern pain science has illuminated the complexity of the human pain experience, incorporating psychosocial elements, nervous system sensitization, immune responses, and structural changes in the brain as factors. This contemporary understanding of pain has proven highly beneficial for both clinicians treating individuals in pain and those experiencing pain.

Pain neuroscience education (PNE) provides individuals in pain with an understanding of the underlying neurobiology and neurophysiology of their pain experience, which has been shown to result in decreased self-reported pain, reduced disability, the alleviation of fear and fear-avoidance behaviors, diminished pain catastrophizing, and improved movement. Currently, research on PNE predominantly focuses on interventions with individuals with persistent or chronic pain conditions. However, those who experience acute, sub-acute, and perioperative pain also have the potential for elevated levels of fear, fear-avoidance, and pain catastrophizing, indicating potential benefits from PNE.

This invited commentary seeks to inform readers about the latest advancements in pain science and propose a conceptual model for delivering PNE in acute pain experiences.

Level of Evidence: 5