A World of Hurt: “Foods” A Non-Pharmacy Intervention for Pain & Chronic Illness
A World of Hurt: “Foods” A Non-Pharmacy Intervention for Pain & Chronic Illness
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This one-day course will fine tune clinical reasoning for the selection of foods as a non-pharmacy intervention for pain, chronic illness and disease. If you have ever suspected that not everyone should eat the same thing or do the same exercise, you are right! In fact, what food we absorb well and how our bodies handle stress differs in phases of healing and wellness. Your stage of inflammation, recovery and wellness reflect your internal chemistry. It is the key that unlocks the mysteries of disease, pain, longevity, fitness, emotional strength, and how we heal. The food you eat determines your susceptibility to illness and prevents the most troubling health diseases. Foods are the most frequently introduced chemicals to the body and considered an intervention for pain and disease. The chemical reactions brought into the body through foods can be positive or negative. In conjunction with the healthy state of the liver and gut, they can alter the response to treatment for pain and chronic illness. Recent ongoing literature suggests a non-pharmacy intervention for pain and disease, in the area of healthy eating including a whole food plant-based diet. The function of the liver, the microbiome of the gut, and the integrity of the gut lining play an integral role in inflammation. Whole food plant-based eating offers an individualized lifestyle health plan that is right for your patients. Gentle detox and balancing protocols for the liver, adrenal glands, gut, and thyroid can reactivate an immune system causing remission to many autoimmune and neurological diseases. The inflammatory mechanism may have a chemical component systemically in the tissues, such as, cytokines, lipopolysaccharides, chronic infection or histamine, etc. The patient’s inflammatory symptoms can reflect the immune system’s stress and inability to heal the body. A person with an autoimmune condition will have more pre-existing inflammatory molecules present in the body compared to a person without. Therefore, an intervention focused on foods can alter the rate of healing and the overall outcome. The “Root Cause” to the inflammatory cascade and immune system stress response identified within the foods people select can be the missing link to sustained benefits from pain and remission for chronic illness. The World of Hurt “Foods” course will introduce an eclectic scientific based framework involving the four blood types O, A, B, and AB, ketogenic diets, and whole food plant-based eating to individualize food selection for healthy immune systems. In addition, fundamental protocols for the liver, adrenal glands, thyroid and gut to promote a healthy immune system will be discussed. Each person can greatly benefit from its own exercise regimen, meal plans, and vitamin supplements, that can be identified within this simplistic framework.

Speaker biography

Annie O’Connor, MSPT, OCS, Cert. MDT is Founder and CEO of a World of Hurt, LLC a dedicated consulting, teaching, telehealth and research company for the application of Pain Mechanism Classification System into MSD & Neurological clinical practice. In addition, she is a Clinical Manager at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab formerly known as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Annie has co-authored 2019, Pain Mechanism Classification Chapter, Rehabilitation of The Spine: A Patient Center Approach 3e, Liebenson C (ed). Wolters Kluwer Philadelphia publisher. She has co-authored 2020 and 2017, Therapeutic Exercise Chapter, Orthopedic Knowledge Update Spine 6 & 5, American Academy for Orthopedic Surgeons publisher. This chapter specifically is dedicated to helping Medical Doctors understand pain mechanism classification and the importance in therapeutic exercise selection. She has co-authored 2015 book “A World of Hurt: A Guide to Classifying Pain” and September 2016 Journal Article in JMMT “Validation of a pain mechanism classification system (PMCS) in physical therapy practice”. Both publications offer a research supported “paradigm shift” in managing Musculoskeletal Pain promoting effective and efficient outcomes with significant cost savings. She is an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) of the American Physical Therapy Association and has a Certification in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy in the McKenzie Method (Cert. MDT). She teaches nationally and internationally the World of Hurt training courses, a six course training series designed for interdisciplinary application of the PMCS into clinical practice. She lectures nationally and internationally on musculoskeletal pain mechanism classification and intervention, neurodynamic evaluation and treatment, mechanical diagnosis and therapy of spine and extremities, kinetic chain evaluation, functional manual therapy and exercise prescription. She was instrumental in establishing the Pain Mechanism Classification System approach for musculoskeletal pain and neurological spasticity at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab formerly known as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. She is a member of American Physical Therapy Association in the orthopedic section and canine special interest group, the North American Spine Society (NASS) serving on the Exercise Committee, and McKenzie Institute. She continues to treat orthopedic, neurological patients, and canines with pain to achieve the best life possible through her Chicago based private practice and the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab.

Melissa Watson, MSPT, Cert. MDT is Vice President of the World of Hurt, LLC and assistant instructor for the World of Hurt six training courses. She received her Master’s in Physical Therapy and her Bachelor’s in Exercise Physiology from Ohio University. Melissa practices at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab formerly known as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Burr Ridge Outpatient Center with 17 years of clinical experience in neurological rehabilitation. Melissa is a Master Clinician and certified clinical instructor with the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab where she mentors other clinicians and students on their professional and clinical development. She is a recognized mentor in utilizing Pain Mechanism Classification System for Neurological Patients with MSD Pain and Spasticity. She is practicing clinically in the Day Rehabilitation setting with a research interest in musculoskeletal pain and applying both pain classification and MDT principles within the neurological population for spasticity. She is currently leading a Day Rehab Pain Group Committee where she is leads other Day Rehab clinicians on a research supported pain science education group that are focused on pain science education and active care treatment for patients with centrally dominated pain throughout 6 sites of care facilitating a standard for education through inpatient and outpatient clinicians in a large system of care. She certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment – McKenzie Method. She is an instructor of the Pain Mechanism Classification System outlined in the book “A World of Hurt: A Guide to Classifying Pain” and uses both sub grouping methods exclusively in her neurological clinical practice to guide patient education and exercise prescription to facilitate functional return.

Course Objective(s)

At the conclusion of this course, participants should be able to:

1) Distinguish patient lifestyle, dietary, and disease characteristics that would benefit from a “Foods” intervention care plan.

2) Discuss the difference and application of high protein, low carbohydrate, ketogenic, blood type, and whole food plant-based eating plans.

3) Describe a framework of assessment to guide healthy lifestyle eating as a treatment for pain, disease management and prevention.

4) Interpret when to recommend advanced protocols for immune system health.

Course Outline

7:30 Registration

8:00 Course Introduction

8:15 Lecture: What patient characteristics requires a “Foods” approach?

9:00 Lecture: Lifestyle eating plans and what does the evidence conclude?

10:00 Break

10:15 Lecture: Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates the Real Deal

11:15 Workshop: World of Hurt “Foods” Framework to Heal

12:00 Lunch

1:00 Workshop: Patient Education Materials

1:45 Lecture: Lab tests and values for healthy immune system

2:30 Break

2:45 Lecture: Advance protocols for healthy immune system

3:30 Lecture: Self-monitoring and Prevention

4:15 Debrief Day: Question & Answers

4:30 Adjourn


Providence Northeast Rehabilitation

507 NE 47th Ave

Portland, OR 97213

World of Hurt: Foods


There is no pre-requisite for this course, but the World of Hurt Overview course is recommended. 

Registration Information

Target Audience: This course will benefit Physical and Occupational Therapists, Chiropractors, Osteopaths, Physical Therapist Assistants, Occupational Therapy Assistants, Medical Doctors, Psychologists, Athletic Trainers, Massage Therapists, Personal Trainers and any other practitioners who are involved in treating musculoskeletal pain. It is recommended that participants be vaccinated for COVID.  Masks will be required for the entirety of the course.  

Registration Fee: The registration fee is $150 for Providence caregivers, $275 for all other registrants. A $25 early registration discount will be applied to all registration fees processed prior to August 27th, 2021.

The " a World of HURT: A Guide to Classifying Pain"  Book is recommended for this course.  If you need to purchase a book, please email Joanna.mullett@providence.org for information on how to purchase a book at the discounted price of $55.

Refund Policy: Full refunds less a $25 administrative fee will be granted if cancellation is requested by September 3, 2021. No refunds will be made after that date unless the course is cancelled by Providence Rehabilitation Services, in which case full refunds will be issued.

Contact Hours: This course qualifies for 7.0 contact hours for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapy Assistants, Occupational Therapists, and Occupational Therapy Assistants in Oregon and Washington. Providence is also an approved provider for physical therapy continuing education in New York State. This course may be approved for other disciplines and states, please email rehab.courses@providence.org if you have questions regarding CEUs.