Prof. Ruti Defrin Assa

Department of Physical Therapy
School of Health Professions
חוג לפיזיותרפיה סגל אקדמי בכיר
Prof. Ruti Defrin Assa
Phone: 03-6405431
Fax: 03-6409223
Office: Health Professions


 Full Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, Tel Aviv University

Director, BioMed @ TAU Pain Research Hub



We study the perception of pain among healthy subjects as well as among individuals with mental disorders and cognitive impairments. We are interested in the manner with which the brain processes various temporal and spatial aspects of painful evens and in inter-personal differences in pain perception.


We are also interested in the underlying mechanisms of chronic pain that develops after traumatic events. These include physical injuries such as spinal cord injury, brain injury and brain stroke as well as psychological traumas such as shell shock, captivity and torture. We are particularly interested in the effects of stress on the function of the pain system in these conditions and in healthy subjects.


We use state of the art devices such as computerized thermal stimulators, mechanical and electrical stimulators and a recording system for event related brain potentials. We perform experiments in the pain laboratory at TAU and in hospitals.


Recent Publications

Gruener H, Zeilig G, Laufer Y, Blumen N, Defrin R. Differential pain modulation properties in central neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury. Pain. 2016;157:1415-24.
Zeilig G, Rivel M, Doron D, Defrin R. Does hemiplegic shoulder pain share clinical and sensory characteristics with central neuropathic pain? A comparative study. Eur J Phys Rehab Med. 2016 [epub ahead of print].
Weissman-Fogel I, Dror A, Defrin R.. Temporal and spatial aspects of experimental tonic pain: understanding pain adaptation and intensification Eur J Pain. 2015;19:408-18.  
Defrin R, Riabinin M, Feingold Y, Schreiber S, Pick CG. Deficient pain modulatory systems in patients with mild traumatic brain and chronic posttraumatic headache: implications on its mechanism. J Neurotrauma. 2015;32:28-37.
Benromano T, Defrin R, Ahn AH, Zhao J, Pick CG, Levy D. Mild closed head injury promotes a selective trigeminal hyper-nociception: implications for the acute emergence of posttraumatic headache. Eur J Pain. 2015;19:621-8.
Raz N, Granovsky Y, Defrin R. Investigating the neural processing of spatial summation of pain: the role of A-delta nociceptors. Exp Brain Res. 2015;233:405-13.
Defrin R., Arad M., Pieck M. Ben-Sasson, K. Ginzburg. Attitudes towards pain and sensitivity to painful stimuli among people routinely engaging in masochistic behavior. Eur J Pain. 2015;19:1321-1330.
Baeta-Corral R, Defrin R, Pick CG, Giménez-Llort L. Tail-flick test response in 3xTg-AD mice at early and advanced stages of disease. Neurosci Let. 2015;600:158-63.
Defrin R, Schreiber S, Ginzburg K. Paradoxical pain perception in PTSD: The unique role of anxiety and dissociation. J Pain. 2015;16:961-970.
Levitan Y, Zeilig G, Bondi M, Ringler E, Defrin R. Predicting the risk for central pain using the sensory components of the International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISNCSCI). J Neurotrauma. 2015; 32:1684-92
Kucyi A, Sheinman A, Defrin R. Distinguishing feigned from genuine performance in psychophysical pain testing. J Pain. 2015;16:1044-1053
Defrin R. Compression at myofascial trigger points for the management of acute low back pain. Commentary. Eur J Pain. 2015 ;19:1057-8.
Ginzburg K, Tsur N, Karmin C, Speizman T, Tourgeman R, Defrin R. Body awareness and pain habituation: The role of orientation towards somatic signals. J Behavi Med. 2015;38:876-85.
de Knegt NC, Defrin R, Evenhuis HM, Lobbezoo F, Schuengel C, Scherder EJA. Quantitative sensory testing of temperature, pain, and touch in adults with Down syndrome. Res Dev Dis. 2015;47:306 31.
Levy D, Edut S, Baraz-Goldstein R, Rubovitch V, Defrin R, Bree D, Gariepy H, Zhao J, Pick CG. Responses of dural mast cells in concussive and blast models of mild traumatic brain injury in mice: Potential implications for post-traumatic headache. Cephalalgia. 2015 [epub ahead of print]
Andersen TE, Lahav Y, Defrin R, Mikulincer M, Solomon Z. Attachment security and pain--The disrupting effect of captivity and PTSS. J Psychosom Res. 2015;79:471-6.
Defrin R, Devor M, Brill S. Tactile allodynia in patients with lumbar radicular pain (sciatica). Pain. 2014;155:2551-9.
Geva N, Pruessner J, Defrin R. Acute psychosocial stress reduces pain modulation capabilities in healthy men. Pain. 2014;155:2418-2520.
Defrin R, Ginzburg K, Mikulincer M, Solomon Z. The long-term impact of tissue injury on pain processing and modulation: a study on ex-prisoners of war who underwent torture. Eur J Pain. 2014;18:548-58.
Geva N, Defrin R. Enhanced pain modulation among triathletes: a possible explanation for their exceptional capabilities. Pain. 2013;154:2317-23.
Ginzburg K, Tsur N, Barak-Nahum A, Defrin R. Body awareness: differentiating between sensitivity to and monitoring of bodily signals. J Behav Med. 2014;37:564-75.
Zeilig G, Rivel M, Weingarden H, Gaidoukov E, Defrin R. Evidence of a neuropathic origin in hemiplegic shoulder pain. Pain. 2013;154:959-60.
Defrin R, Lurie R. Indications for peripheral and central sensitization in patients with chronic scalp pain (trichodynia). Clin J Pain. 2013;29:417-24.
Zeilig G, Rivel M, Weingarden H, Gaidoukov E, Defrin R. Hemiplegic shoulder pain: evidence of a neuropathic origin. Pain. 2013;154:263-71.
Ratmansky M, Defrin R, Soroker N. A randomized controlled study of segmental neuromyotherapy for post-stroke hemiplegic shoulder pain. J Rehabil Med. 2012;44:830-6.
Bryce TN, Biering-Sørensen F, Finnerup NB, Cardenas DD, Defrin R, Lundeberg T, Norrbrink C, Richards JS, Siddall P, Stripling T, Treede RD, Waxman SG, Widerström-Noga E, Yezierski RP, Dijkers M. International spinal cord injury pain classification: part I. Background and description. Spinal Cord. 2012;50:413-7.
Bryce TN, Biering-Sørensen F, Finnerup NB, Cardenas DD, Defrin R, Ivan E, Lundeberg T, Norrbrink C, Richards JS, Siddall P, Stripling T, Treede RD, Waxman SG, Widerström-Noga E, Yezierski RP, Dijkers M. International Spinal Cord Injury Pain (ISCIP) Classification: Part 2. Initial validation using vignettes. Spinal Cord. 2012;50:404-12.
G. Zeilig, S. Enosh, D. Rubin-Asher, B. Lehr, R. Defrin. The nature and course of sensory changes following spinal cord injury: predictive properties and implications on the mechanism of central pain. Brain 2012;135:418-30.
Weisman-Fogel, N. Zwi, R. Defrin. The resolution of the pain system as evaluated with psychophysical testing reveals a proximal to distal gradient of improvement. Exp Brain Res. 2012;216:181-90.
R. Defrin, A. Sheraizin, L. Malichi, O. Shachen. Spatial summation and spatial discrimination of cold-pain: effect of spatial configuration and skin type. Pain. 2011;152:2739-45.
R. Defrin, I. Eli, D. Pud. The interaction among sex, ethnicity and gender role expectations of pain. Gender Medicine 2011;8(3):172-83.
E. Peles, S. Schreiber, T.Hetzroni, M. Adelson, R. Defrin. The Differential Effect of Methadone Dose and of Chronic Pain on Pain Perception of Former Heroin Addicts Receiving Methadone Maintenance Treatment. Journal of Pain 2011;12:41-50.
  • 2014-2017 National Insurance Association
  • 2015-2017 IRP- International Foundation for research in Paraplegia
  • 2015-2019 ISF-Israel Science Foundation


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