The Neuroscience of Sprains, Strains, Pain and Sports Performance

presented by Adriaan Louw

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Pain, sprains and strains are synonymous with athletes, but how do they impact the ultimate goal in athletics: Sports Performance? This course will shed light on the newest neuroscience view of sports performance, and the role of pain. How do elite athletes do what they do? How do they do it better than the amateur? What truly limits sports performance? Why do golfers choke on the last short put of a major event? How does arousal affect sports performance, and more.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Adriaan Louw, PT, PhD, CSMT

    Adriaan Louw, PT, PhD, CSMT

    Adriaan, co-founder and CEO of ISPI, earned both an undergraduate as well as a master’s degree in research and spinal surgery rehabilitation from the University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town, South Africa. He is a guest lecturer/adjunct faculty at Rockhurst University, St. Ambrose University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In addition, he maintains a clinical practice and is co-owner of The Ortho Spine and Pain Clinic in Story City, Iowa. Adriaan has been teaching postgraduate, spinal manual therapy and pain science classes throughout the US and internationally for 15 years. He is a Certified Spinal Manual Therapist through ISPI. In addition, Adriaan has presented at numerous national and international manual therapy, pain science and medical conferences and has authored and co-authored articles, books and book chapters related to spinal disorders and pain science. Recently, Adriaan completed his Ph.D., which centers on therapeutic neuroscience education and spinal disorders.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. Tissues, Current Models and Pain in Athletes

    1. Tissues, Current Models and Pain in Athletes

    This chapter discusses how current biomedical models are outdated in how they view pain in athletes. After completing this chapter, participants will be able to justify the inclusion of a more rounded bio-psycho-social approach to understanding injury and pain in an athletic population.

  2. The Brain and Nervous System in Athletic Pain

    2. The Brain and Nervous System in Athletic Pain

    This chapter describes various neuroscience processes in the peripheral nervous system and central nervous system in athletes experiencing pain. Participants will recognize how the whole brain is busy processing information and ultimately produces pain in the pain neuromatrix.

  3. Pain, the Brain and Sports Performance

    3. Pain, the Brain and Sports Performance

    This chapter proposes that sports performance starts and ends with the brain, not tissues. The chapter will analyze sports performance from a perspective of a busy brain processing pain at the expense of various critical functions needed in sports performance, such as concentration.

  4. Clinical Pearls: Cutting-Edge Neuroscience for Athletes in Pain

    4. Clinical Pearls: Cutting-Edge Neuroscience for Athletes in Pain

    This chapter integrates the new neuroscience view of pain into every-day clinical practice scenarios. The chapter will describe the importance of including cognitive strategies in a tissue-dominant model for athletes in pain.