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A Pain in the Course

adriaan louw

Adriaan Louw, PT, PhD, CSMT

December 2016


The SAU residency program has been extremely fortunate to provide the residents with a new course related to pain, Therapeutic Neuroscience, which began in the spring semester of 2014. We have had a long-standing, working relationship with Adriaan Louw, PT, PhD, CSMT, who now serves as an adjunct faculty member in our department and teaches this class.

Dr. Louw was manually trained in Cape Town, South Africa and moved the United States where he continued his professional growth and development, particularly in the area of Therapeutic Neuroscience Education. He is the co-founder and CEO of the International Spine and Pain Institute. Adriaan has taught throughout the U.S. and internationally for 20 years at numerous national and international manual therapy, pain science, and medical conferences. He is a Certified Spinal Manual Therapist, Therapeutic Pain Specialist, and has authored and co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed articles, books, and book chapters related to spinal disorders and pain science. He is the Director of the Therapeutic Neuroscience Research Group, an independent collaborative initiative studying pain neuroscience. Adriaan is the Program Director of the Therapeutic Pain Specialist and Pain Science Fellowship post-graduate program for Evidence In Motion.

As part of this course, residents attend four face-to-face sessions with Dr. Louw that are spread out across the spring semester. They also complete numerous assignments and projects as a part of the course and attend the annual ISPI education conference. This has been an amazing opportunity for the residents to be able to learn directly from one of the leading educators and researchers in the area. The residents get practical experience in applying this into their patient care, and several have even been fortunate to go spend time with Adriaan in his clinic as he treats patients.

One exciting component of this course has been the capstone project. Each group has been involved in data collection of a project in the Therapeutic Neuroscience realm. These projects have already led to several publications in professional journals, such as the two below:

  • Louw A, Farrell K, Wettach L, Uhl J, Majkowski K, Welding M. Reorganization of lumbar cortical maps with pre-habilitation: A case series. New Zealand Physiotherapy Journal. 2015. 43(2)
  • Louw A, Farrell K, Landers M, Barclay M, Goodman E, Gillund J, McCaffrey S, Timmerman L (2016). The effect of manual therapy and neuroplasticity education on chronic low back pain: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, DOI: 10.1080/10669817.2016.1231860 

Kevin Farrell is currently scheduled to present the two 2016 projects at the annual ISPI conference this June in Minneapolis as well as give a presentation, "Remapping Knees and Shoulders with Sensory Discrimination."

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