Jason Zafereo, M.P.T., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He specializes in chronic pain interdisciplinary rehabilitation and orthopedic manual physical therapy.

Dr. Zafereo earned his doctoral degree in physical therapy at Texas Woman’s University and his Master of Physical Therapy at UT Southwestern Medical School. He completed a fellowship in orthopedic manual physical therapy with the Manual Therapy Institute.

A board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy, he joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2001.

Dr. Zafereo has served as the lead physical therapist at the Eugene McDermott Center for Pain Management since 2012. In his more than 10 years of treating patients in the interdisciplinary pain program, Dr. Zafereo has developed a national reputation for achieving excellent clinical outcomes, particularly for patients with challenging neuropathic pain such as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and nociplastic pain such as fibromyalgia.

In 2021, he was recruited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities to serve on the International Standards Committee, which was working to revise the accreditation standards for interdisciplinary pain programs. In this role, he was highly influential in guiding expectations for how physical therapy should be delivered within interdisciplinary pain programs worldwide.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists, Dr. Zafereo has served for many years on the academy’s Research Committee. He’s a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, as well as its Orthopedic Academy/Pain Special Interest Group and Education Academy/Residency and Fellowship Special Interest Group. He also serves on several institutional committees, including UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute Pain Interest Group and the UT Southwestern School of Health Professions’ Research Advisory Committee.

Dr. Zafereo additionally serves as the Director of Research for the Department of Physical Therapy at UT Southwestern. His investigations are aimed at identifying and promoting a mechanisms-based approach to the evaluation and management of chronic nociplastic and neuropathic pain conditions. He currently serves as Co-Investigator on a grant funded by the National Institutes of Health to identify the mechanisms contributing to primary muscle tension dysphonia. Other research has been supported by the David M. Crowley Foundation, the Charles Y.C. Pak Foundation, UT Southwestern Circle of Friends, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists.

Dr. Zafereo has delivered numerous invited lectures, peer-reviewed presentations, and continuing education workshops. He has partnered with Hatherleigh Medical Education to conduct courses to train the next generation of pain providers in our country and internationally.

He has contributed to the books Multidisciplinary Spine Care and Pain Management for Clinicians: A Guide to Assessment and Treatment and has published numerous academic articles related to his areas of expertise. He also has filed a provisional patent application for a thermal grill for pain assessment.

Dr. Zafereo was named a Distinguished Teaching Professor by the Southwestern Academy of Teachers in 2021.

Personal Note

When he’s not at work, Dr. Zafereo enjoys coaching youth sports and camping and hiking in Scouts BSA.

Education & Training
  • Other Post Graduate Training - Texas Woman's University
  • Other Post Graduate Training - UT Southwestern Medical Center (1999-2001)
  • Graduate School - UT Southwestern Medical Center (1999-2001)
  • Residency/Fellowship - The Manual Therapy Institute, Physical Therapy
  • Undergraduate School - Baylor University (1995-1999)
  • Graduate School - Texas Woman's University, Physical Therapy
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists
  • American Physical Therapy Association
  • Texas Physical Therapy Association
  • United States Association for the Study of Pain
Honors & Awards
  • Top Cited Article 2021-2022, Pain Practice Journal
  • Distinguished Teaching Professor, Southwestern Academy of Teachers
  • Research Recognition Award 2017, School of Health Professions, UT Southwestern
  • School of Health Professions Outstanding Faculty Award, 2014, 2015, 2019, 2022, UT Southwestern Department of Physical Therapy
  • Distinguished Teacher Award for Excellence in Teaching 2008, School of Health Professions, UT Southwestern
  • Best 5x5 Platform 2015, AAOMPT Annual Conference
Books & Publications
  • Orthopedic physical therapy
  • Manual therapy
  • Chronic pain

Clinical Focus

  • Chronic Pain Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedic Manual Therapy
  • Neuropathic Pain and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

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