Personal profile

Supervisory Interests

The assessment and conservative management of people with peripheral neuropathic pain  including nerve-related musculoskeletal disorders such as lumbosacral radicular pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and whiplash associated disorders. I am also interested in mechanistic studies investigating the mechanisms involved in both the underlying pathophysiology as well as understanding the benefits of management strategies

Research interests

My main area of research is in the assessment and management of people with nerve related musculoskeletal disorders. I am currently investigating the role of peripheral nerve inflammation in people after whiplash injury. I am also interested in sub-profiling of people with nerve related MSK disorders. I use a number of tools including quantitative sensory testing, skin biopsy (to assess small nerve fibres in the epidermis), blood and serum samples, bedside examination procedures and psychosocial profiling.  Recently I have been using MRI scans to assess both inflammatory (T2 weighted images) and structural (diffusion tensor imaging) nerve changes.

Approach to teaching

I believe that all students regardless of life experience, age or learning style benefit from independent, self-directed learning. However, appropriate scaffolding is needed to best support and develop these learning skills. We are developing Physiotherapy students into competent, caring, empathetic practitioners. They need to be able to problem solve, understand and deal with complexity and develop critical reasoning strategies to best manage patients in practice.

Scholarly biography

Colette Ridehalgh completed her PhD in 2014 entitled Straight Leg Raise treatment for individuals with spinally referred leg pain: exploring characteristics that influence outcome. She has an MSc in Manipulative Physiotherapy and is a member of the Musculoskeletal association of Chartered Physiotherapists (MACP). She has published a number of peer reviewed articles and presented this work at national and international conferences. She has been awarded a number of small grants and a Rising Stars Grant from the University of Brighton in 2018 which allowed her to explore sub-profiling of individuals with spinally referred leg pain.

Colette also works at Brighton and Sussex Medical School as a Senior Research Fellow investigating the role of peripheral nerve inflammation in people after whiplash injury.

Colette is Research Officer for the MACP and has been scientific Chair for the MACP stream at Physio UK in 2018, 2019 and 2021. She is on the International Advisory Panel for Musculoskeletal Science and Practice Journal and regularly reviews for this and a number of other journals. She also reviews for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as well reviewing abstracts for national and international conferences (Physio UK, World Physiotherapy, International Federation of Orthopaedic and Manipulative Physical Therapy).

External positions

Senior Research Fellow, Brighton and Sussex Medical School

Research Officer


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