In this article, Dr. Thacker discusses the need for physical therapists to start thinking differently about pain. We are so focused on the muscles, ligaments, and mechanical structures as the source of a client's symptoms that we often neglect how interconnected the human body is. Specifically, Dr. Thacker discusses the relationship between the nervous system and the immune system. Everyone has structures called cytokines that are located in the CNS and PNS. When tissues become injured and an inflammatory response results, these cytokines are released, activating the nociceptive system. Additionally, we must consider the impact of pain on the brain. Evidence has shown that there is a cortical reorganization in patients with low back pain. When a larger portion of the brain is focused on pain, sensation and motor control are altered.
Understanding this paradigm will allow physical therapists to better identify their patient's complaints and plan interventions accordingly!
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