Therapeutic Neuroscience Education: Teaching People About Pain


This is a closed course, and registrations are not being accepted.

Course Description

This online course will teach clinicians to integrate Pain Neuroscience Education (PNE) into their clinical practice. Current best evidence has shown that neuroscience educational strategies utilizing neurobiology and neurophysiology can reduce pain, increase function, reduce fear and catastrophization, improve movement and change cognitions, and brain activation in people during pain experiences. This class will cover the evolution of PNE, explain why neuroscience education is needed in physical therapy, and teach the foundations of pain neurobiology and neurophysiology. More importantly, participants will learn how to apply and implement PNE within their practice for patients with acute, sub-acute, and chronic pain.

Target Audience

Healthcare providers.


  1. Discuss the need for pain neuroscience education in their clinical practice.
  2. Identify factors in their current patient population that may contribute to driving a patient toward the fear or recovery pathway in the Fear-Avoidance Model by Vlayen, et al. 
  3. Discuss the latest evidence for pain neuroscience education.
  4. Identify a clinical scenario in their practice where they had to adjust the level of education to meet the patient/client where they were at and describe how they adjusted their communication. 
  5. Describe what they will say to a patient to teach them that pain is an output rather than an input using the Mature Organism Model from Louis Gifford.  
  6. Provide an empathetic discussion with a patient/client about how a "threat" or stressor can influence the pain experience when provided with a clinical scenario.
  7. Share a brief clinical case scenario of a current or past patient/client in which they believe the issue is/was likely driven by a change in ion channel distribution.
  8. Explain to a patient/client the role of ion channels in their pain experience.
  9. Explain to a patient/client how/why pain spreads.
  10. Explain to a patient/client that tissue issues are only part of their pain experience.
  11. Discuss how to safeguard their PNE story/message to ensure their patient/client doesn't conclude that their pain is made up.
  12. List potential strategies to implement therapeutic neuroscience into clinic practice regarding time, staff, billing, and traditional treatments.
  13. Communicate to their patient/client that pacing and graded exposure is the key to recovery when provided a patient scenario. 
  14. Demonstrate the clinical ability to apply pain neuroscience education to clinical practice using at least one metaphor shared in class.

Course Outline

  • Reading Assignments (1:15 hours)
  • Module 1 (4:30 hours)
  • Module 2 (3:50 hours)
  • Module 3 (4:30 hours)
  • Reading Assignments (1:00 hour)
  • Zoom De-Brief with the Author (1:00 hour)

Course Author

Adriaan Louw, PT, PhD

Dr. Louw earned his undergraduate, master’s, and PhD in physiotherapy from the University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town, South Africa. He is an adjunct faculty member at St. Ambrose University and the University of Nevada Las Vegas, teaching pain science. Dr. Louw has taught throughout the US and internationally for 25 years at numerous national and international manual therapy, pain science, and medical conferences. He has authored and co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed articles related to spinal disorders and pain science. Adriaan completed his PhD in pain neuroscience education and is the Director of the Therapeutic Neuroscience Research Group – an independent collaborative initiative studying pain neuroscience. Dr. Louw is a senior faculty, pain science director, and vice president of faculty experience for Evidence in Motion.

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 16.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • 16.00 AOA Category 2­B
  • 16.00 CE Contact Hour(s)
  • 16.00 IBON
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Accreditation Statements

  • MD: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Iowa Medical Society (IMS) through the joint providership of Des Moines University (DMU) and Evidence in Motion. DMU is accredited by IMS to provide continuing medical education for physicians. DMU designates this enduring materials activity for a maximum of 16.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.  Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
  • DO: Des Moines University (DMU) is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) to provide osteopathic continuing medical education for physicians. DMU designates this activity for a maximum of 16.0 AOA Category 2-B credits and will report CME and specialty credits commensurate with the extent of the physician’s participation in this activity.
  • Nurse: Des Moines University is Iowa Board of Nursing approved provider #112. This activity has been reviewed and approved for 16.0 continuing education contact hour(s). No partial credit awarded.​
  • Other Healthcare Professionals: This enduring materials activity is designated for a maximum of 16.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.

Educational Grants

No ineligible company provided financial support for this continuing education activity. 


The planning committee member(s) and speaker(s) will disclose if any pharmaceuticals or medical procedures and devices discussed are investigational or unapproved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The determination of educational content and the selection of speakers is the responsibility of the activity director. 

Relevant to the content of this educational activity, the following individual(s) have no conflict(s) with ineligible companies to disclose.

  • Kyle Butcher - Activity Director and Planning Committee Member
  • Orlando Candelaria - Activity Coordinator and Planning Committee Member
  • Colleen Louw, PT - Planning Committee Member

Relevant to the content of this educational activity, the following individual(s) have conflict(s) with ineligible companies to disclose. The accredited provider has mitigated all relationships.

  • Adriaan Louw, PT, PhD - Course Author
    • OPTP: Book royalties
    • Medbridge: Honorarium
      • The financial relationship(s) above are not relevant to the content of the educational activity.


The information provided in this activity is for continuing education purposes only. It is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a healthcare provider relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition. The content of each presentation does not necessarily reflect the views of Des Moines University.

Available Credit

  • 16.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • 16.00 AOA Category 2­B
  • 16.00 CE Contact Hour(s)
  • 16.00 IBON


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