Neurodynamics and neuroscience

 ‘The tiger by the tail’
I recall that over 20 years ago, one of my old lecturers at The University of Queensland said, “putting the nervous system into manual therapy – you will have a tiger by the tail.”  I didn’t quite understand it then, but I know the neurodynamics tiger has been pulling in many directions ever since.

Meet Michel Coppieters and his team
Many of our readers will have heard of Dr Michel Coppieters – clinician, educator and the world’s leading researcher in the area of neurodynamics. That’s him in the red t-shirt. Michel, and several members of his neuropathic pain research team at The University of Queensland (Bob Nee and Nina Schmid) will be presenting at the NOI 2010 Neurodynamics and The Neuromatrix conference in Nottingham. Michel will present a plenary lecture, be a part of a median nerve hands on workshop and a workshop on measuring nerve movement.

His research team conducts both clinical and basic science experiments. The basic science experiments aim to better understand the implications of peripheral nerve pathology on the peripheral and central nervous system. The clinical studies aim to optimise the diagnosis and treatment of patients with peripheral nerve entrapments. You can check out Michel’s long list of research publications at Among the most well read by clinicians are the research articles supporting notions of structural differentiation, for example, and the popular sliders and tensioners article.

The big challenge for neurodynamics
Whilst it would be easy to leave neurodynamics in the world of biomechanics and metaphysics as most educators do, this would be short changing a remarkable concept. It has to be put into a bigger picture. While there will be chances for hands on techniques, a much bigger and more controversial picture will be presented at NOI 2010 in Nottingham. For example, these issues will be raised:

  • If a person has a positive neurodynamic test, it is likely that the brain representation of that part and that movement in the neuromatrix will have altered. What do we do about it?
  • A positive neurodynamic test may be due to stress related chemicals creating sensitivity and inflammation in the nervous system. What do we do about this?
  • It is quite possible, with skilled interaction and education, that the sensitivity in neurones can be altered. While touch and skilled movement are important, there are other linked ways to improve movement and function.
  • Can we see nerves moving with imaging techniques and how can we measure the movement?

Hope to see you in Nottingham. Bring plenty of neurones. It’s going to be right ‘out there’.

Your turn
NOI likes to help with research projects. Send in your best idea for a neurodynamics research project for the chance to win a copy of The Sensitive Nervous System.

Mirror box therapy
If you want to know more about it, watch, listen and learn as David Butler runs you through a brief but thorough 7 minute talk on mirror box therapy. From box construction to neuroscience to techniques and related therapy – he’ll try to answer all of your questions.



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