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Research: Pain Neuroscience Education for Older Adults

September 8, 2021 • Pain Science • Adriaan Louw

Stacey Watson, MD, a Therapeutic Pain Specialist, along with Adriaan Louw and more of EIM’s pain science team, published a new paper titled, “Pain Neuroscience Education for Older Adults,” in Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics. The new research aims to fill the huge gaps in the research addressing the use of pain neuroscience education with older adults who are in pain.

“Pain Neuroscience Education for Older Patients” Abstract

Aims: To assess if Pain Neuroscience Education (PNE) delivered to older adults can positively influence pain knowledge and pain beliefs.

Methods: A total of 55 older adults attended a 30-minute PNE lecture. The primary outcome measures of pain knowledge, fear avoidance, beliefs regarding pain and aging as well as self-reported pain were obtained both pre- and post-lecture.

Results: Significant improvement in knowledge was found with a mean score on the neurophysiology of pain questionnaire test improving by 11.07% from pre to post-test (p=0.002). A greater shift in knowledge was observed in the older adult group (70 and above) compared to the younger group (50–69).

Conclusions: A brief PNE lecture to older adults positively influences pain knowledge, and beliefs regarding pain and aging. This study indicates that PNE can be understood by older adults and may be a viable non-pharmacological treatment for older adults experiencing pain.

Access the article here.


Stacey Watson, Adriaan Louw, Mariana Wingood, Debbie Rico, Jessie Podolak, Nicholas Maiers & Terry Cox (2021): Pain Neuroscience Education for Older Adults, Physical & Occupational Therapy In Geriatrics, DOI: 10.1080/02703181.2021.1970692; Physical & Occupational Therapy In Geriatrics

Adriaan Louw

Adriaan earned both an undergraduate as well as a master’s degree in physiotherapy from the University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town, South Africa. He is an adjunct faculty member at St. Ambrose University, South College and the University of Nevada Las Vegas, teaching pain science. Adriaan has taught throughout the US and internationally for 20...

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