Teaching people about the neurobiology and neurophysiology of their pain experience has a therapeutic effect and has been referred to as pain neuroscience education (PNE). Various high-quality randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews have shown increasing efficacy of PNE decreasing pain, disability, pain catastrophization, movement restrictions, and healthcare utilization. Research studies, however, by virtue of their design, are very controlled environments and, therefore, in contrast to the ever-increasing evidence for PNE, little is known about the clinical application of this emerging therapy. In contrast, case studies, case series, and expert opinion and perspectives by authorities in the world of pain science provide clinicians with a glimpse into potential “real” clinical application of PNE in the face of the ever-increasing chronic pain epidemic. By taking the material from the randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, case series, case studies, and expert opinion, this article aims to provide a proposed layout of the clinical application of PNE. The article systematically discusses key elements of PNE including examination, educational content, and delivery methods, merging of PNE with movement, goal setting, and progression.
This perspectives article concludes with a call for research into the clinical application of PNE.