Continuing Education

November 2nd & 3rd – 2019

A World of Hurt: A Guide to Classifying Pain

  • Course Description

    Utilizing pain science research regarding pain mechanisms, this course teaches pain clinicians how to assess and treat pain as it relates to the peripheral and central nervous system mechanisms.

    This course presents a sub grouping method—the Pain Mechanism Classification System (PMCS)—which addresses musculoskeletal pain throughout the continuum from acute, sub-acute and chronic stages, covering chemical, structural, mechanical, cognitive, emotional, social, psychological and cortical mechanisms. The PMCS will guide diagnosis of dominating mechanism and selection of pain science patient education and active care exercise interventions for each mechanism. When demonstrated through live patient demonstrations (when available), video and paper case studies, the PMCS would aid application of principles taught to clinician’s clinical practice.

    This course integrates pain science research into a biopsychosocial approach, promoting a common language for pain clinicians and patients that reduces patient’s disability relative to pain and supports optimal functional recovery and independence. Peripheral nervous system active neurodynamic evaluation, central nervous system sensory and motor evaluation, patient rated outcome measures and psychometric tools will be outlined and discussed to diagnosis dominating mechanisms.

    The PMCS’ patient education and active care exercise interventions support all patient ages and diagnoses suffering pain. Documentation guidelines outlined along with goal setting recommendations will be included

  • Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

    • Differentiate subjective and objective characteristics for nociceptive, peripheral neurogenic, central sensitization, affective and motor/autonomic pain mechanisms.
    • Apply pain mechanism & mechanical classification principles to pain patients via paper, video and live demonstrations.
    • Apply patient education and active care intervention using PMCS and Yellow Flag Risk Form (YFRF).
    • Identify patient rated outcome measures and psychometric questionnaires using PMCS and YFRF.
    • Effectively communicate pain education for Peripheral and Central Nervous System pain mechanisms.
    • Effectively prescribe therapeutic exercise for Peripheral Nervous System, Neurodynamic, and Central Nervous System Sensorimotor Dysfunctions
  • Speakers

    Annie O’Connor, MSPT, OCS, Cert. MDT

    Annie is Corporate Director of the Musculoskeletal Practice and Clinical Manager of the River Forest Outpatient Center at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab (formerly known as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago). She has co-authored:

    • 2018, Pain Mechanism Classification Chapter, Rehabilitation of The Spine: A Patient Center Approach 3e, Liebenson C (ed). Wolters Kluwer Philadelphia publisher
    • 2017, Therapeutic Exercise Chapter, Orthopedic Knowledge Update Spine 5, American Academy for Orthopedic Surgeons publisher. This chapter specifically is dedicated to helping Medical Doctors understand pain mechanism classification and the importance in therapeutic exercise selection.
    • The 2015 book “A World of Hurt: A Guide to Classifying Pain” and September 2016 Journal Article in JMMT “Validation of a pain mechanism classification system (PMCS) in physical therapy practice”. Both publications offer a research supported “paradigm shift” in managing Musculoskeletal Pain promoting effective and efficient outcomes with significant cost savings.

    Annie is an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) of the American Physical Therapy Association and has a Certification in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy in the McKenzie Method (Cert. MDT). She lectures nationally and internationally on musculoskeletal pain mechanism classification and intervention, neurodynamic evaluation and treatment, mechanical diagnosis and therapy of spine and extremities, kinetic chain evaluation, functional manual therapy and exercise prescription. She was instrumental in establishing the Pain Mechanism Classification System approach for musculoskeletal pain at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab formerly known as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

    Annie is a member of American Physical Therapy Association in the orthopedic section and canine special interest group, the North American Spine Society (NASS), and McKenzie Institute. She serves on the 10X25 tactile coalition task force to reduce spine related disability by 10 percent in year 2025 sponsored by the Spine Foundation a national group of the NASS. She continues to treat orthopedic, neurological patients, and canines with musculoskeletal pain to achieve the best life possible.

    Melissa Watson, MSPT, Cert. MDT​

    Melissa received her Master’s in Physical Therapy and her Bachelor’s in Exercise Physiology from Ohio University. She practices at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab (formerly known as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) Willow brook Outpatient Center with 17 years of clinical experience in neurological rehabilitation.

    Melissa has been helped lead RIC’s Clinical Ladder Program for more than seven years, where she mentors other clinicians on their professional and clinical development. She is a certified clinical instructor and consistently mentors students in clinical practice. She is practicing clinically in the Day Rehabilitation setting with an interest in musculoskeletal pain and applying both MDT and pain classification principles within the neurological population for spasticity. She is currently leading a Day Rehab Pain Group Committee where she is mentoring other Day Rehab clinicians on running pain groups that are focusing on pain education and active care treatment for patients with centrally dominated pain throughout six sites of care and facilitating a standard for education through Inpatient clinicians.

    Melissa is certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment – McKenzie Method and has been training the Pain Mechanism Classification System outlined in the book “A World of Hurt: A Guide to Classifying Pain” for last four years using both sub grouping methods exclusively in her neurological clinical practice to guide patient education and exercise prescription to facilitate functional return.

  • Agenda: Day 1

    8 a.m. Registration/Continental Breakfast
    8:20 a.m. Course Introduction
    Musculoskeletal Pain Lessons
    8:30 a.m. Lecture: Risk Factor Assessment for Musculoskeletal Pain – A collaboration of classification systems
    9:15 a.m. Lecture: Pain Continuum – Pain Mechanism Classification System (PMCS)
    9:45 a.m. Break
    10 a.m. Lecture: Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) Pain Mechanisms Subgroups Subjective, Objective Characteristics – Similarities with other Classification Systems
    10:45 a.m. Lecture: PNS Patient Education and Active Care Intervention
    11:15 a.m. Lecture: Peripheral Neurogenic Pain Mechanism (PNPM) Objective Neurodynamic Evaluation
    12 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
    1 p.m. Workshop: Neurodynamic Evaluation Upper and Lower Limb Active Tests
    2:15 p.m. Lecture: Peripheral Neurogenic Pain Mechanism Intervention MSK
    2:45 p.m. Break
    3:30 p.m. Case Study or Live Patient Demonstration: PNS
    4:30 p.m. Case Study or Live Patient Demonstration: Peripheral Neurogenic Pain
    5:30 p.m. Adjourn

  • Agenda: Day 2

    7:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast
    8 a.m. Lecture: You don’t get pain without a brain
    8:45 a.m. Lecture: Central Nervous System (CNS) Subgroups Subjective and Objective Characteristics
    9:30 a.m. Workshop: Psychometric Testing/Scoring –FABQ, PASS, PHQ-9, Readiness Questionnaire
    10 a.m. Break
    10:15 a.m. Words Workshop: Patient Pain Education using the Yellow Flag Risk Form – Individual to Group Model
    12 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
    1 p.m. Case study: CNS Pain Mechanisms CS, Affect, A/M
    2 p.m. Lecture: CNS Mechanisms patient education and active care intervention
    2:30 p.m. Lecture: CNS Sensory and Motor Evaluation Objective Tests Demonstration: CNS Left/Right Discrimination – Spine and Extremity
    3 p.m. Workshop: CNS Sensory and Motor Objective Tests
    4 p.m. Summary of Pain Mechanisms – Lamp Analogy
    4:15 p.m. Questions/Answers
    4:30 p.m. Adjourn

  • Target Audience

    This course will benefit physical and occupational therapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, physical therapist assistants, occupational therapy assistants, medical doctors, psychologists, athletic trainers, massage therapists, personal trainers and any other practitioners who are involved in treating musculoskeletal pain.

  • Registration Fee

    Cost is $499. Registration includes continental breakfast, refreshments, certificate of attendance, course handout and the course book “A World of Hurt: A Guide to Classifying Pain”.

  • Refund Policy

    Full refunds less a $25 administrative fee will be granted if cancellation is requested by October 18th. No refunds will be made after that date unless the course is canceled by Fitness Matters, in which case full refunds will be issued.

  • Continuing Education Hours

    This course will qualify for 14.75 continuing education hours for physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and athletic trainers in Ohio. Certificates of attendance will be issued to all participants successfully completing the course.

  • Course Location

    Fitness Matters Inc.
    7710 Olentangy River Rd.
    Columbus, Ohio 43235


Register online using the form below. Confirmations will be emailed. Space is limited; registration is first-come, first-served.