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PT Elevated | Align 2022 – Pain Mechanisms | Keith Smart

June 8, 2022 • Pain Science • Kory Zimney, Paul Mintken

Welcome back to a NEW season of PT Elevated where we are broadening our topics to include more researchers but still focusing on topics that you can use in your clinic every day. This season we will have some of our speakers as guests who will be live in-person at the EIM Align Conference this August 26-28 in Dallas, Texas.

On our second episode of season 3 we welcome Dr. Keith Smart, DSc (Hons), Physio, MSc, PhD, who is a keynote speaker at our Align Conference happening this August! Keith is a physiotherapist who worked clinically as a physiotherapist in several hospitals in the United Kingdom and Ireland. He specialized in the field of ‘musculoskeletal physiotherapy.’ He completed his research master’s degree in 2004 and a PhD in 2010, during which he was the primary investigator on a number of research projects that investigated physiotherapists clinical reasoning of pain, and mechanisms-based classifications of low back pain. He has since acted as a co-supervisor to a number PhD candidates as well as undergraduate and masters-level physiotherapy students. He has also undertaken several systematic reviews related to pain. He is now a full-time academic physiotherapist at University College Dublin but maintains a small clinical caseload as a Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist within the field of musculoskeletal physiotherapy and orthopaedic triage at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin. He has ongoing research interests related to pain and advanced practice physiotherapy.

They focus their discussion on the conversation of pain mechanisms, what his speaker discussion will cover at the conference and more!

Here are some of the highlights:
Keith published a series of 3 influential papers about 10 years ago on mechanisms of pain and broke them down to how we might be able to categorize where our patients fit in those categories. They discuss how he got interested in pain science initially and what about his findings surprised him. On a broadscale Keith tells how he used questionnaires, clinically when assessing pain and why. Listen in to hear more surrounding the topic of pain mechanisms.

Keith’s Align Session Preview Keith will be presenting virtually in August at the Align Conference; he is looking forward to it! He will be presenting on the broad topic of pain mechanisms, keeping it clinical. He hopes to be able to explain to the attendees what some of the limitations and shortcomings of mechanisms-based patients of pain are. Also, what that looks like in clinical practice, how we might begin to distinguish between different types of mechanistic categories of pain and how we might tell them apart in our patients. What implications that might have for our assessment treatment and prognosis of patient’s pain.

Keith’s Clinical Pearl – “Embrace the complexity, but don’t be intimidated by it. Anyone who tells you that they know everything is almost certainly lying. Being a physical therapist and treating patients in pain is a challenge but it is also a privilege. Embrace the complexity and do your best.”

Helpful research and training:

Ad Info: We are excited to be back in person and back to hands-on learning for the 2022 Align Conference. This year you can join an all-star lineup of speakers in Dallas, Texas, August 26 through the 28. The labs and lectures focus on sharpening the physical, hands-on treatments essential to patient care. Save 5% on registration as a PT Elevated Podcast listener. Visit and use the promo code PTELEVATED at checkout.  You can find the promo code and a link to the website in the show notes. We can’t wait to see you!

Connect with us on socials:
@ZimneyKJ on Twitter
@PMintkenDPT on Twitter
@KeithMSmart on Twitter
Keith Smart, Align Conference Website
Align Conference 2022, Website

Kory Zimney

Kory received a Masters in Physical Therapy from the University of North Dakota in 1994. He completed his transitional DPT from Des Moines University in 2010 and a Ph.D. in Physical Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in 2020. His dissertation focused on the construct of trust as part of the therapeutic alliance and its relation...

Paul Mintken

Paul has taught musculoskeletal content for the past 15 years. His active research agenda focuses on conservative care for musculoskeletal disorders as well as spinal and extremity manipulation and dry needling. Current Roles: Evidence In Motion, Faculty Wardenburg Health Center at the University of Colorado Boulder, Lead Clinician Regis University Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Therapy,...

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