It is commonly believed that pain and injury are complex processes, leading to multi-system adaptation beyond changes in neural excitation, inhibition and processing. While ‘plasticity’ is a term commonly ascribed to the nervous system, ‘biological plasticity’ is a broader term that has been used to capture the number of biological processes that undergo change in the presence of pain and shape the response of the individual.
Pain is no longer considered simply the response to nociceptive stimuli, it requires the understanding of different underlying mechanisms, activation of neural systems (beyond simply the nociceptive neurons), the interactions of the neural and immune systems, tissue changes and the implications on the psychological and social domains. All of these systems have a potential role in the sensorimotor adaptations to pain, as well as the potential for the maintenance of the pain response.
The goal of this commentary is to present a current view of the implications of the biology of pain and injury for sensorimotor function, particularly in the spine.
THIS WEEK'S RESEARCH REVIEW: “Biological Plasticity in Low Back Pain – Impact on Sensorimotor Control"
This paper was published in JOSPT (2019) and this Review is posted in Recent Reviews, Low Back Pain, Pain - Neuroplasticity and the 2020 Archive.
neuroplasticity 2