In the last decade, evidence regarding chronic pain has developed exponentially. Numerous studies show that many chronic pain populations show specific neuroplastic changes in the peripheral and central nervous system. These changes are reflected in clinical manifestations, like a generalized hypersensitivity of the somatosensory system. Besides a hypersensitivity of bottom-up nociceptive transmission, there is also evidence for top-down facilitation of pain due to malfunctioning of the endogenous descending nociceptive modulatory systems. These and other aspects of modern pain neuroscience are starting to be applied within daily clinical practice. However, currently the application of this knowledge is mostly limited to the general adult population with musculoskeletal problems, while evidence is getting stronger that also in other chronic pain populations these neuroplastic processes may contribute to the occurrence and persistence of the pain problem.
Therefore, this masterclass article aims at giving an overview of the current modern pain neuroscience knowledge and its potential application in post-cancer, paediatric and sports-related pain problems.