Dr. Sharma’s clinical background is in orthopedics and manual therapy. She primarily teaches courses in the orthopedic tract,, including Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy I and II in the DPT curriculum and
Evidence-based Orthopedic Rehabilitation in the post-professional DPT curriculum. Dr. Sharma provides consultation to local clinicians for orthopedic conditions and continuing education courses related to musculoskeletal topics. She is also currently a staff physical therapist for services in the Silver City Health Clinic.
Dr. Sharma began her academic career at the University of Jodhpur in India by earning a Bachelor of Arts degree. She completed a Master of Science in Physical Therapy at KU Medical Center in 2000 and received manual therapy certification from the North American Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy, Inc. (NAIOMT) in 2004. In 2008, Sharma earned her doctorate from KU's PhD in Rehabilitation Science program.
Dr. 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. Through this research, it is hoped that the mechanisms by which exercise training modulates pain can be better understood.
As principle investiagtor, Dr. Sharma is leading several projects related to clinical orthopedic research in the lab. The goal of this work is to advance clinical research in orthopedic rehabilitation.
2) Low back pain and brain imaging: to examine central sensitization from low back pain and exercise-induced modulation of chronic pain at cortical and subcortical regions. This work is being conducted in collaboration with Carmen Cirstea, MD, PhD and Kenneth McCarson, PhD.
Completed dissertation project 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, PhD.
Dr. Sharma is currently engaged in projects with other top researchers at KU, both at the KU Medical Center campus and on the main campus in Lawrence. To learn more about these activities, please visit the following lab sites:
The HBIC brings together a unique combination of neuroimaging technologies to engage in activities at the forefront of neuroscientific endeavors.
Selected Current and Past Grants
Neena Sharma (PI) Brain Spectroscopy in Chronic Low Back Pain
The purpose of this grant is to examine neurochemical concentrations with brain spectroscopy in chronic low back pain and following rehabilitation training.
Awarded 2011 Institutional CTSA KL2
Neena Sharma (PI) Cortical Changes in Subacute Low Back Pain
The purpose of this grant is to determine neurophysiological changes that occur during the subacute phase of pain and the effectiveness of manual therapy and exercise training. Multiple brain imaging methods are used to analyze neurophysiological changes.
Award received for 2011 Foundation for Physical Therapy, APTA
Neena Sharma (PI) Central Sensitization and Impact of Exercise on Chronic Low Back Pain
The purpose of this grant is to examine the effects of exercise intervention of central sensitization in people with chronic low back pain. Brain imaging analysis and functional outcome measures in response to exercise training are being monitored.
Clinical Pilot Grant
Neena Sharma (PI) Effects of Exercise Training on Chronic Pain Using an Animal Model
The purpose of this grant was to define muscle pain and the effects of exercise training on modulating muscular pain in mice. Biochemical and behavioral analysis were conducted to quality muscular pain, spinal cord activation and neurotrophin3 levels following exercise training.
Awarded, 2007; Completed
Foundation for Physical Therapy (PODS II; APTA) scholarship