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FOCUS ON THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM

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Focus on the central nervous system

Our research group has special interest in peripheral and central mechanisms of (chronic) pain & fatigue and pain-motor interactions. This includes studies of people suffering from chronic pain or fatigue, like patients with complex disorders such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic whiplash associated disorders, chronic low back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, cancer patients/survivors, multiple sclerosis, etc. but also individuals suffering chronic shoulder and neck pain.
Our research focuses on assessment strategies, exercise pathophysiology, chronic pain neurophysiology, sensory/pain-motor interaction, and conservative interventions.
Central nociceptive processing is often abnormal in complex chronic pain syndromes. Our group studies clinical manifestations of, and potential treatment strategies for central sensitization (= hypersensitivity of the central nervous system) in various chronic pain disorders. This domain entails studies examining the aetiology of chronic pain, exercise-induced (an)algesia, abnormal pain processing, and studies examining the effectiveness of conservative interventions. When researching the aetiology and nature of chronic pain and central pain processing psychosocial (illness perceptions, pain cognitions, pain behaviour), biological (immunological, hormonal, neural, stress response), and exercise responses are addressed.
Furthermore, pain-motor interactions and sensory-motor control are studies in both patients with chronic widespread pain and in patients with chronic more localised pain, like patients with chronic shoulder complaints. In the latter group, our research addresses the study of clinical assessment strategies and conservative therapeutic interventions of scapular positioning and scapular kinematics in patients with shoulder and neck pain.

Keywords: fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, whiplash associated disorders, chronic low back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, cancer patients/survivors, multiple sclerosis, chronic shoulder pain, chronic neck pain, central sensitization, neurophysiology, pain inhibition, conditioned pain modulation, exercise induced analgesia, chronic pain, widespread pain, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, pain education, exercise therapy, assessment, movement analysis, scapular position, sensory-motor incongruence, illness perception, cognitions