2242 – Improving Outcomes for Pain Patients

Intermediate / 3-hour Workshop


Faculty: Anita Davis, PT, DPT, MSM, D-AAPM



This presentation is designed for therapists, assistants and trainers with a desire to learn about central processing of pain in the brain. Many factors influence the perception of pain. One theory that explains this is the neuromatrix theory. This theory proposes that pain is interpreted in the brain by several areas that work in synergy with each other. This course will review those areas known as the neuromatrix. Attendees will learn the function of these areas and synergistic relationships of the matrix. Aquatic therapy is uniquely positioned to significantly alter the activity in the matrix and positively influence pain reduction. Knowing how the matrix works provides powerful support for aquatic treatment interventions. This course provides rationale to support the strategies used in the treatment of chronic pain conditions. Attendees will learn how and which aquatic therapy interventions can modify the input into the brain to change the signals in the pain matrix and facilitate pain reduction. Participants will review case descriptions in small groups and develop a treatment plan with rationale for selected implementation. Participants will share their results with verbal, and when possible, actual demonstration. Specific interventions discussed will include: Ai Chi, BackHab, Bad Ragaz, Watsu®, Unpredictable Command Technique.



1)  Identify centers of the brain that are active with noxious stimuli (the neuromatrix).

2)  Expore the synergistic relationships in the brain matrix with chronic pain.

3)  Establish a treatment environment to promote pain reduction.

4)  Modify the aquatic environment for maximal impact on pain reduction.

5)  Select effective aquatic treatment interventions to decrease activity in the pain matrix and subsequent pain.


FACULTY: Anita Davis, PT, DPT, MSM, D-AAPM, has over 27 years of experience in physical therapy. She has specialized in chronic pain, treating conditions such as fibromyalgia, failed back syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, neuropathy and more. She is skilled in orthopedic management of spine and extremity conditions using land and aquatic interventions. She works in an interdisciplinary comprehensive pain rehabilitation program in Jacksonville, Florida.