Lecture by Siobhan Schabrun, PhD, B.Physio
Brain Rehabilitation and Neuroplasticity unit (BRAiN-u), Western Sydney University
The brain in pain: understanding mechanisms and developing new treatments
Maladaptive neuroplasticity is considered a key mechanism in the development and maintenance of chronic musculoskeletal pain. This presentation will examine neuroplasticity in the sensorimotor cortex in the different stages of pain (acute, sustained and chronic) and link these changes to motor dysfunction and pain severity. Different types of neuroplasticity, and their potential role in chronic pain, will be discussed. Finally, new treatments that can target maladaptive neuroplasticity in pain (i.e non-invasive brain stimulation, peripheral electrical stimulation, ‘priming’ applications) will be explored, including their potential for clinical application and current limitations. Future directions and controversies in the field will be highlighted.
Lecture by David A. Seminowicz, PhD, Associate Professor
Department of Neural & Pain Sciences, University of Maryland School of Dentistry
Neuroimaging studies of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in acute and chronic pain
The DLPFC has been implicated in cognitive, affective, and modulatory aspects of pain. In our functional MRI studies, we have reported an interaction between pain- and cognitive-related activity in the DLPFC and impaired DLPFC activation in multiple patient groups (low back pain, fibromyalgia, migraine). We further showed that treatment of chronic pain could result in a reversal of cortical thinning of the left DLPFC, and similarly a reversal of impaired deactivation of this same brain area during cognitive task performance. In another study, we showed that cognitive behavioral therapy resulted in increased left DLPFC gray matter associated with a reduction of pain catastrophizing. This talk will highlight the multiple roles of the DLPFC in pain and as a potential therapeutic target, which has led to our current collaborative projective here at CNAP.