There is a recognised gap in the study of social aspects of pain, and to truly understand the problem, interdisciplinary research is needed and hence the pain research centre. Chronic pain is the largest cause of people taking time off work in the UK.
Royal Holloway will be teaming up with charities, patient groups and the NHS, to run trials and research the main causes of pain and disability – focusing on the interaction between physical, psychological and social.
Leading the pain research centre at Royal Holloway, is Professor Tamar Pincus, from the Psychology department, who is internationally recognised for her work on predictors of chronicity, including mood and cognition.
She has been involved in several clinical trials in pain populations, and specialises in behaviour change interventions.
The centre will bring together several Royal Holloway departments and staff, each providing a unique expertise from cognitive biases in people with pain, pain and HIV, through medical sociology to pain and human rights. The centre will combine research in clinical setting with laboratory-based experimental studies, including studies in virtual reality settings.
Royal Holloway has laboratories that allow novel cutting-edge research, including its fMRI scanner, EEG lab, Eye-Tracking lab, and sleep lab.
Professor Tamar Pincus said: “We are very excited about opening up our research into pain and to explore more of how we can help people across the world.
“Pain conditions are common and their impact on individuals and society are huge. For example, low back pain is a leading worldwide cause of disability and its burden is growing alongside the increasing and ageing population.
“Many people suffer, alongside with pain, from low mood, high anxiety and work loss. Alarmingly, this problem is on the increase in children, with associated school absenteeism, and increased risk of becoming an adult with chronic pain.
“We need to understand all aspects of pain much better than we currently do to be able to come up with effective solutions.”
Source: Royal Holloway, University of London