A challenge in understanding chronic musculoskeletal pain is that research is often siloed between neuroscience, physical therapy/rehabilitation, orthopedics and rheumatology which focus respectively on 1) neurally-mediated effects on pain processes, 2) behavior and muscle activity, 3) tissue structure and 4) inflammatory processes. Although these disciplines individually study important aspects of pain, there is a need for more cross-disciplinary research that can bridge between them. Identifying the gaps in knowledge is important to understand the whole body, especially at the interfaces between the silos-between brain function and behavior, between behavior and tissue structure, between musculoskeletal and immune systems, and between peripheral tissues and the nervous system. Research on “mind and body” practices can bridge across these silos and encourage a “whole person” approach to better understand musculoskeletal pain by bringing together the brain and the rest of the body. Perspective: Research on chronic musculoskeletal pain is limited by significant knowledge gaps. To be fully integrated, musculoskeletal pain research will need to bridge across tissues, anatomical areas, and body systems. Research on mind and body approaches encourages a “whole person” approach to better understand musculoskeletal pain.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.