Research

I have a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Montréal.​  My Ph.D. involved investigating changes in the sensory and motor areas of the brain and how these are affected by pain and musculoskeletal injuries and disorders.

Conservative treatments are largely inspired by a biomedical paradigm, where treatment is oriented towards the area of injury/pain.  However, an extensive body of research demonstrates that  injuries and conditions and the pain that people experience are also affected by psychological and social interactions.  Furthermore, the scientific literature clearly demonstrates that diagnostic findings (including x-rays and MRI), on a population level, correlate very poorly with pain.  You have some persons who have severe osteoarthritis who have no or little pain.  More than one third of us over the age of thirty five have disk herniations, tears of the tendons of the shoulders, and torn cartilage in the knees.  Most of us are unaware that we have these injuries and conditions.  In 80% of persons who experience chronic low back low back pain the cause of the pain is unexplained.

 

In persons with chronic injuries and conditions many people continue to experience pain, abnormal sensations (the area of injury feeling smaller or larger or feel as if it is not part of you), and motor disturbances (muscle spasm, abnormal muscle activation). We are working with the hypothesis that changes in these areas of the brain may help to explain many of the signs and symptoms associated with musculoskeletal disorders and may explain why some persons continue to experience on going pain. I believe that changes in different areas on the nervous system, including areas within the brain are also affected and may contribute to and the failure of conservative treatment to help these individuals.

My research is looking into areas of the brain involved in sensation and the control of muscles, how these interact with areas involved involved in emotions and stress, associated with pain and musculoskeletal disorders.

 

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© 2018 by René Pelletier, D.O.