Emilio (Louie) Puentedura

Associate Professor
Expertise: Physical Therapy, Trigger Point Dry Needling, Thrust Joint Manipulation, Pain Neuroscience Education
Languages Spoken: Spanish


Louie Puentedura is an associate professor in the physical therapy within the School of Allied Health Sciences, as well the coordinator for the Rehabilitation Sciences sub-plan of the doctorate in Interdisciplinary health sciences. He is a licensed physical therapist and board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedics, fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists and has both clinical and academic doctorates in physical therapy.

Puentedura has extensive clinical and research experience in orthopedic manual physical therapy and chronic spinal pain. Much of his research has focused on the mechanisms of thrust joint manipulation, the safety of thrust joint manipulation, and the efficacy of pain neuroscience education in the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain.

His studies have included development of a clinical prediction rule for the identification of patients with neck pain who are more likely to benefit from thrust joint manipulation; a comparison of thrust joint manipulation to the thoracic versus cervical spine in patients with neck pain; systematic reviews on the safety of cervical and thoracic spine manipulation; an analysis of the changes in cervical range of motion following uncomplicated single- and multi-level cervical fusion; effects of neurodynamic interventions on muscle flexibility in soccer players; and the immediate effects of dry needling on abdominal and lumbar muscle function.

His research has led to more than 60 peer-reviewed publications, including placements in Spine, The Spine Journal, International Journal of Spine Surgery, European Spine Journal, Pain Medicine, International Journal of Health Sciences, Musculoskeletal Science and Practice (formerly Manual Therapy), Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy in Sport, Physical Therapy Reviews, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Physiotherapy Theory and Practice.

Puentedura has earned multiple awards for his research, including first author on the John Medeiros Best Paper Award from the Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy; and also as first author for the Rose Excellence in Research Award from the Orthopaedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association.


  • B.App.Sc. (Physio), La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Grad.Dip.Manip.Ther., La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
  • D.P.T., Northern Arizona University
  • Ph.D., Physical Therapy, Nova Southeastern University

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