Steven Z. George, PT, PhD, FAPTA

Steve George
Therapeutic Area Lead for Musculoskeletal and Surgical Sciences, Duke Clinical Research Institute; Laszlo Ormandy Distinguished Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery, Associated Faculty

Dr. George’s primary interest is research involving biopsychosocial models for the prevention and treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain disorders. His long-term goals are to 1) improve accuracy for predicting who is going to develop chronic pain, and 2) identify non-pharmacological treatment options that limit the development of chronic pain conditions. Dr. George is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association, American Pain Society, and International Association for the Study of Pain.  

Dr. George’s research projects have been supported by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Brooks Rehabilitation, Orthopaedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association, University of Florida, and Foundation for Physical Therapy. Dr. George and his collaborators have authored over 200+ peer-reviewed publications in leading physical therapy, rehabilitation, and pain research journals. He currently serves as a Contributing Editor for Physical Therapy and Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Pain.  Dr. George is also a member of the Advisory Council for the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health. 

Dr. George has been recognized with prestigious early career research awards from the American Physical Therapy Association (Eugene Michels Award), American Pain Society (John C. Liebeskind Early Career Scholar Award), and International Association for the Study of Pain (Ulf Lindblom Young Investigator Award for Clinical Sciences). Expertscape identified Dr. George as the #10 international expert on low back pain based on his peer-review publication record. In 2016 Dr. George was recognized by the Florida Physical Therapy Association with the Scholarly Impact on Practice Award. The American Physical Therapy Association recognized Dr. George as the 2016 Jules M. Rothstein Golden Pen Award for Scientific writing in recognition of his scientific contributions to Physical Therapy. Also, Dr. George was the and 21st John H.P. Maley Lecturer delivering Pain Management: Roadmap for Revolution, a talk in which future pain management priorities for education, research, and practice were identified. In addition, In 2017, Dr. George was designated as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow by the APTA and was selected by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Board of Directors to receive the Helen Hislop Award for Outstanding Contributions to Professional Literature in 2018. 

Current Projects

  • Developing and testing the effectiveness of psychologically informed physical therapy interventions for patients with acute low back pain
  • Testing the efficacy of personalized approaches for pain management, including targeting treatment to pain-related genetic and psychological factors that increase the risk of persistent post-operative shoulder pain
  • Exploring how measures of pain sensitivity and pain modulation can be used to inform the development of clinical phenotypes or determine the efficacy of manual therapies Developing and validating review of systems and yellow flag assessment tools for predicting musculoskeletal pain outcomes and future health care utilization patterns
  • Developing and testing the effectiveness of integrated non-pharmacological care pathways for Veterans with low back pain