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Neena K. Sharma, Ph.D., PT, CMPT

Neena Sharma portrait
Associate Professor, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Science, and Athletic Training

Professional Background

Neena Sharma, Ph.D., PT, CMPT, has a clinical background in orthopedics and manual therapy. Her primary teaching responsibilities are in the orthopedic tract including courses Orthopedic Physical Therapy I, II and III in the physical therapy curriculum. She also teaches pain-related topics in both physical therapy and rehabilitation science curricula.

Sharma provides consultation to local clinicians for orthopedic and chronic pain conditions as well as continuing education courses related to musculoskeletal topics.

Academic Background
Sharma began her academic career by earning a bachelor’s degree at the University of Jodhpur in India. She completed a master’s degree in physical therapy at KU in 2000 and received manual therapy certification from the North American Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy in 2004.

In 2008, Sharma earned her doctorate from KU in rehabilitation science. Her doctoral project related to defining muscle pain at the peripheral and spinal cord sites and the effects of exercise training on neurotrophin-3 and pain-like behavior in an animal model of fibromyalgia. This work was conducted under the mentorship of Doug Wright, Ph.D. Sharma’s post-doctoral work focused on understanding central sensitization with brain imaging modalities in low back pain.



Sharma's research interests are to understand biochemical and neural mechanisms contributing to chronic pain syndromes and the efficacy of various physical therapy interventions in modulating pain. She is interested in examining central sensitization and effects of exercise training on the central nervous system as well as gaining knowledge about spine mechanics in low back pain. Through this research, it is hoped that the mechanisms by which exercise training and manual therapy modulates pain can be better understood.

Lab Group Site
Clinical Orthopedic Rehabilitation and Research (CORR) Laboratory
As director of the CORR lab at KU Medical Center, Sharma is leading several projects related to research on low-back pain. The goal of this work is to advance clinical research in orthopedic rehabilitation.