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Treating Fear: Imbalance, Pain, Reinjury, Incontinence, and Beyond (Recorded Webinar)

presented by Mike Studer, PT, DPT, MHS, NCS, CEEAA, CWT, CSST, CBFP, CSRP, FAPTA

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Mike Studer receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.

Nonfinancial: Mike Studer has no competing nonfinancial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

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Video Runtime: 160 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 19 Minutes

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Fear is the most pervasive barrier inhibiting recovery and function across the life span. Fear-avoidant behavior is well established as a reason not to move. However, fear also impacts how we move (symmetry, speed, compensations), offering opportunities for intervention. Changes due to fear include reduced step length, foot clearance, and gait speed for persons with fear of falling; urgency in those with incontinence; limited head motion for those with fear of dizziness; gait deviations, word-finding difficulties, and altered UE biomechanics after stroke; depression in MCI; and movement substitutions to retrieve something from the floor or arise to standing for those in fear of pain. Functionally, we see the consequence of reduced participation (movement, social, vocational) as an unfortunate and unnecessary commonality of all. The time has come for PTs, OTs, and SLPs to recognize that we must directly treat fear itself, not just as a consequence of physical impairments (imbalance, weakness, pain, tone, dizziness) or cognitive impairments (word-finding, reduced working memory). We must come together in addressing fear directly, accomplishing this by systematically addressing the common threads of maladaptive neuroplasticity (sensory, motor, psychological) that lead to altered motor control and limited participation emanating from fear.

Meet Your Instructor


Mike Studer received his physical therapy degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1991. He received his postprofessional MHS degree in physical therapy with neurologic emphasis from the University of Indianapolis. He has been board-certified as a clinical specialist in neurologic physical therapy since 1995 and designated a certified exercise expert in the aging adult…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Defining Fear and Contrasting It With Anxiety

What is fear, and how does it differ from anxiety? In this chapter, clinically relevant neurophysiology that leads to central adaptations and compensations will be covered to clarify considerations between fear and anxiety.

2. Consequences and Expressions of Fear

In this chapter, learners will be introduced to the commonalities and many faces of fear. These include elevated pain, involuntary movements, elevated tone, altered biomechanics, anxiety, errors in performance (yips, twisties, cognitive errors, word-finding difficulties), and avoidant behavior.

3. The Foundations of Treating Fear

In this chapter, we will deliver evidence-based clinical approaches to reduce nociplasticity, all forms of maladaptive neuroplasticity, altered motor control, and elevated sensory receptors, as well as to moderate the autonomic nervous system response.

4. Preventing Fear-Avoidant Behavior

In this chapter, we will cover how to treat fear-induced behavior across the life span and range of diagnoses in neurology, pelvic health, orthopedics, and sport.

5. Personalizing Fear Management

In this chapter, we will cover how to personalize fear management and how to incorporate body movement as exercise.

6. Returning to Wellness and Staying There

In this chapter, we will discuss how to help fearful patients succeed after therapy has ended, including staying well and beating the next trauma. The reward cycle wins.

7. Question and Answer Session

In this chapter, we will go over and assess questions submitted during the webinar.

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