The clinical implementation of pain neuroscience education: A survey study.

Pain neuroscience education (PNE) has gained considerable attention in research. Three systematic reviews have shown increasing efficacy of PNE decreasing pain, disability, pain catastrophization, movement restrictions, and healthcare utilization. In the development of any new therapeutic approach, it is proposed that there are three stages: development, validation, and implementation. To date, the development and validation of PNE have been well-established. The third stage, implementation, however, lacks when it comes to PNE. The purpose of this study was to survey physical therapists (PT) on their experience and implementation of PNE, following a 15-hour PNE class. Upon development and validation of a PT-PNE survey, a random sample of PTs was invited to take the online survey. Two hundred and eighty-six PTs (female 56%) completed the PNE questionnaire. Ninety-one percent of PTs reported not being taught PNE in PT school. PT’s are applying PNE into clinical practice to a variety of patients, experience outcomes in line with the current best-evidence, but struggle establishing which patients are ideal for PNE.

The same five patient characteristics associated with success were also associated with failure, albeit in a different ranking order. This finding highlight the need to further investigate the factors associated with success and failure of PNE.