Therapeutic Neuroscience Education: A New ICP Website Content Page

Jun 07, 2014

As an educational and public policy think tank, the Institute for Chronic Pain (ICP) brings together thought leaders from around the world to provide information about chronic pain and its treatments. We make every effort to provide academic quality information in ways that are also approachable to patients and their families. We also aim to bring this information to healthcare providers, third-party payers, and public policy analysts.

We envision a day when all stakeholders in the field of chronic pain management have a scientifically accurate understanding of the nature of chronic pain and how best to treat it – a day when healthcare providers deliver and patients demand treatments that science has shown to be effective.

The information that we provide on our site meets various important criteria. These criteria are the following:

  • The information is of academic quality while at the same time being approachable by patients and their families.
  • The information is empirically (i.e. scientifically) supported by high quality research and appropriately referenced.
  • The information is unbiased by financial support from the pharmaceutical and medical technology industry.
  • The information is unbiased by any need to maintain discipline-specific traditions or positions of authority (i.e., no need to maintain a specific discipline’s “turf”).
  • The information is provided within a forum that allows for open, respectful dialogue and social connectedness.

By providing information that meets these criteria, we aim to provide accurate and trustworthy information about chronic pain and its management from an organization that is trustworthy, transparent and community-based.

In doing so, we hope to raise our cultural understanding of the nature of chronic pain to a level that is as accurate as the current state of science allows.

Our educational and public policy mission also has significant ethical implications. Care for chronic pain patients (or for patients with any health condition, for that matter) should be as effective as possible. When multiple treatment options exist for a particular condition, we maintain that treatment decisions should be guided by science – by the question of what’s most effective, regardless of other possible concerns, such as the profit-motive or tradition-bound practices. Similarly, patients and their families should educate themselves about the nature of pain and what treatments have been scientifically shown to be effective. However, patients and their healthcare providers have historically lacked a trustworthy and easily accessible source for such information. At the ICP, we aim to fill this gap and provide accessible information about the nature of chronic pain and how best to treat it. With such information, both healthcare providers and patients can improve their decision-making by relying on a scientifically accurate understanding of pain and its treatments. In these ways, we aim to raise the quality of care for chronic pain. It’s the right thing to do and, if successful, we might just change how we manage chronic pain for the better.

As stated, in pursuing these efforts, the Institute for Chronic Pain brings together thought leaders from around the world to provide this scientifically accurate and trustworthy information. Today, we announce a new content page to our website on Therapeutic Neuroscience Education, authored by Adriaan Louw, PT, PhD, CSMT. Adriaan is a leader in Therapeutic Neuroscience Education (TNE). A physical therapist by training, he is a frequent lecturer, a researcher, and an author of a number of patient-friendly books, such as Why Do I Hurt?, among others. He is also the CEO of the International Spine and Pain Institute, an educational seminar organization for healthcare professionals.

His piece on TNE fully meets our criteria for inclusion on the ICP website. It is scientifically accurate and yet accessible by patients, their families, their healthcare providers, and the third-party payers who pay for their care. Indeed, teaching people about pain -- providing them with scientifically accurate yet easily understandable information about pain -- lies at the heart of therapeutic neuroscience education.

Therapeutic Neuroscience Education is a relatively new therapeutic intervention that aims to change patients' perception of pain by providing them with a more accurate understanding of the nature of pain. Akin to a cognitive behavioral intervention, it employs verbal-based lessons along with visual illustrations and diagrams with the goal of changing how patients make sense of their pain. In other words, it helps patients to understand their pain in a more scientifically accurate and less threatening way. Once this more accurate understanding is achieved, patients are typically more willing to engage in therapies that have been shown to be effective.

Typically associated with physical therapy, TNE is actually an intervention that most any healthcare provider might pursue given sufficient training. With such an expertise, chronic pain management providers of all kinds might provide TNE while engaging in their own discipline-specific interventions. Thus, it might be considered a cognitive-based meta-therapy that can be provided at the same time as other therapies.

We appreciate Adriaan’s expertise and contribution to the ICP. Please read his important piece on the ICP website and talk to your healthcare providers about whether TNE might help you to manage chronic pain more effectively.

Author: Murray J. McAllister, PsyD

Date of last modification: 6-7-2014

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