Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain Research Group

Chronic pain affects up to half of all adults and is severe in more than 5%. It has a high impact on individuals, society and the healthcare services. The overall aim of the Chronic Pain Research Group is to inform its management and prevention, minimising its overall impact. A combination of population, genetic and pharmaco-epidemiological approaches combine and lead to intervention development. The specific aims are:

  • to define and quantify chronic pain conditions in the community, and their impact in specific population subgroups
  • to identify clinical, biological, psychological and social factors associated with the development of, and recovery from chronic pain
  • to use this information to inform and evaluate interventions in the community or in primary care, and to inform the development of relevant education and policy

This work focuses on specific diagnoses (including neuropathic pain) and populations (such as older adults), and has a particular interest in the genetics of pain.

The group works closely with collaborators including Generation Scotland, the International Association for the Study of Pain (Neuropathic Pain Special Interest Group – NeuPSIG), the Scottish Pain Research Community, and various individuals and Institutions locally, nationally and internationally.  Members and collaborators represent a range of disciplines including pain medicine, general practice, public health, psychiatry, nursing, physiotherapy, neuroscience and genetics.  Research by the group has been funded by the European Union (Horizon 2020), theMedical Research Council, the Chief Scientist Office (Scotland), and Tenovus Scotland, among other funders, and has been widely published and highly cited.  The EOPIC programme (Engaging with Older People in developing and designing Interventions for the management of Chronic pain), funded through the Cross-council Lifelong Health and Wellbeing initiative, was led by the group. The group is part of the DOLORisk consortium, researching the risks and outcomes of neuropathic pain, recently funded by the EU Horizon 2020. We will run a work package on the genetic epidemiology of neuropathic pain, based on the Generation Scotland and GoDARTS cohorts.

The group has recently been in the news for their contributing role as Scotland Makes Systematic Improvements in Treatment of Chronic Pain and for their recent work on unravelling the genetics of diabetic neuropathic pain. They have also published the recent major paper Pharmacotherapy for neuropathic pain in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Dundee leads a major international initiative on phenotyping neuropathic pain for genetic research as part of the NeuroPPIC project (Neuropathic Pain Phenotyping by International Consensus).