course description:

This 8 week online interactive course is designed for any clinician treating patients with pain. Patients with persistent pain often represent our most frustrating and challenging times in the clinic and across the health care system. As this population grows so grows our prescription opioid epidemic and our need for effective conservative and non-pharmacological approaches to helping this population. The primary objective of this course is to create a strong foundation in a neurophysiological approach to treating the painful patient.


Each unit of this course will cover key concepts in understanding and treating persistent pain. We will cover, in-depth, the physiologic basis of the experience of pain from nociception to cortical processing.  Special attention will be paid to concepts of neuroplasticity, both adaptive and mal-adaptive, at all levels of the nervous system. In depth discussions of context, expectations, and language will lead into subjective and objective evaluation techniques for this population. We will discuss how to create individually designed, psychologically informed treatments that emphasize adaptive neuroplastic changes and return to function. Specific treatment modalities such as therapeutic neuroscience education, laterality training, discrimination training, desensitization, mirror boxes, graded motor imagery, graded exposure, and pacing will be discusses as well as concepts around meditation, breathing, stress reduction/coping strategies, and sleep hygiene.  There will be periodic live online discussions to discuss specific patients, questions from the readings, and bring clinical context to the material. These live online discussions take place Monday evening at 8pm EST and are NOT MANDATORY as we will record all of them and place them on the course website for viewing if you are unable to attend live.  


At the end of this course participants will have a deep understanding of the individual experience of pain, how pain becomes maladaptive, and a true understanding of the patient with persistent pain.  Participants will be able to structure evaluations around the patient presentation and design evidenced based psychologically informed intervention to move patients towards independence and improved quality of life.

Speaker bio

Dr. Dunaway received his doctorate in physical therapy from Youngstown State University and has worked in outpatient physical therapy with special interests in orthopedic manual therapy, spine symptoms, and chronic pain. Justin has completed extensive training in manual therapies and received multiple certifications including: spinal manipulation (Cert-SMT), dry needling (Cert-DN), board certification as an Orthopedic Specialist (OCS), and a graduate diploma in Extremity Manipulation. Dr. Dunaway has experience teaching manual therapy seminars for the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy, The Manual Physical Therapy Alliance, and in Haiti through STAND: The Haiti Project.