Course Description

This course is designed to help PTs effectively manage patients who have both substance use disorders and chronic pain. Both of these problems are complex, nuanced, and both are best addressed by interprofessional patient centered teams. This poses multiple challenges for PTs who often lack the support of well-coordinated teams, who are trying to integrate large amounts of new scientific knowledge, and who are often struggling with time and reimbursement limitations. To fulfill our vision of comprehensive biopsychosocial care, we must draw from literature in all three of these areas. This session attempts to pull together and summarize this literature to help PTs build better skills for the work they do at the intersection of substance use disorders and chronic pain. Specifically, we will discuss Opioid Induced Hyperalgesia and address some commonly held myths about this patient population and their treatment. We will review evidence about the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic care and the neurological basis of substance use disorders, chronic pain, and their common risk factors.

Related courses:

Improving Pain Treament with Mindfulness

Musculoskeletal Pain Management Principles

A Primer on Pain for the Practicing Physical Therapist

Pain, Plastcity and Physical Therapy: Applications of Graded Motor Imagery

Navigating the Waters of Patients in Pain: A Pain Neuroscience Approach to Aquatic Therapy

The Opioid Epidemic: Your Practice is Ready and You May Not Even Know It

Positioning Your Clinic as an Alternative to Opioids

Meet our speakers

Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT is an associate clinical professor at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. She received her master of physical therapy degree from Arcadia University in 1997 and her doctor of physical therapy degree from Temple University in 2002. She also is a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopaedic physical therapy. She has published and presented on a range of topics related to her areas of expertise in chronic pain, underserved populations, and clinical reasoning, and she provides pro bono services in a community-based clinic. With an interdisciplinary team, Wenger developed a chronic pain clinical reasoning model and psycho-education program called Power Over Pain.

Bill Hanlon PT,DPT,MSPT has for the past 10 years worked at St Joseph Institute in an Interdisciplinary team setting, successfully helping patients who have chronic pain and opiate addiction become opiate free. After working at a rural, underserved primary care center and teaching with the Kellogg Foundation Project, Hanlon taught at St Francis University from 1997 to 2015 as an assistant, then associate, professor of physical therapy. A board-certified clinical specialist in orthopaedic physical therapy, Hanlon also is certified in mechanical diagnosis and therapy of the spine through the McKenzie Institute International. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and master and doctor of physical therapy degrees from Temple University.

Course Code:


Completion Instructions

Review the pre-recorded content; compile questions for the live Q and A; attend the live Q and A; complete the assessment with at least a 70% score; claim your certificate.

Course level


Delivery method



Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT, OCS; Bill Hanlon, PT, DPT, MSPT, OCS, PhD

Learning objectives

  1. Understand Opioid Induced Hyperalgesia and how to present that information to patients for improved shared-decision making
  2. Explain the neurological basis of substance use disorders, chronic pain, and their shared mechanisms
  3. Outline practical tools PTs can use to assist with non-pharmacological treatment of pain


Veterans Administration (VA)

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1Chronic Pain_2018.mp4
Type:E-Learning Course
Credit Categories
Domains:opioids, Bill Hanlon, addiction, Chronic Pain, Pain Management, Sarah Wenger

The following credits are available upon completion of these activities.

Total credits:  0.2
Key Dates
Enrollment:Prior to  12/30/2021