Chronic pain

HEALTH INFORMATION

Understanding how the brain is involved in chronic pain

WHAT WE KNOW

One in five Australians experience chronic pain that is serious enough to disable them, costing the country approximately $35 billion a year. People who experience chronic pain (pain that continues for more than three months) often struggle to find effective treatment, and can experience disability and even depression.

We are conducting research into the nature of chronic pain, looking at the role of our brain in the experience of persistent pain, and changes in the central nervous system that may also occur.

We are also investigating why some people develop excessive pain in response to injury, developing a disorder called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

OUR LATEST RESEARCH

SLEEPAIN

For people with back pain who are having trouble with their sleep. We are testing whether a simple sleep tablet will help people reduce their pain and sleep better.

RESOLVE

For people with long term back pain that is not getting better. We are testing two pain treatment programs that target the brain, for people with chronic low back pain.

PREVENT

For people with a new low back pain episode. We are testing early intervention to reduce the risk of developing chronic low back pain.

Identifying cortical and subcortical sites responsible for the divergent sympathetic responses to long-lasting muscle pain

We are trying to identify how a constant sensory input (muscle pain) causes two divergent patterns of sympathetic response: an increase in MSNA and blood pressure in some individuals and a decrease in others.

The effects of tonic muscle pain on the sympathetic and somatic motor systems

Chronic pain, defined as pain lasting for >3 months, typically develops from injuries to deep tissues such as muscle, yet little is known about how long-lasting pain affects a person’s blood pressure or capacity to control their muscles. This project assesses the effects of tonic muscle pain on sympathetic nerve activity and stretch sensitivity of muscle spindles.

What else is happening in Chronic pain research at NeuRA?

FEEL THE BUZZ IN THE AIR? US TOO.

The cold case of schizophrenia - broken wide open!

‘It is like they were miraculously healed!’’ Schizophrenia is diagnosed by clinical observation of behaviour and speech. This is why NeuRA researchers are working hard to understand the biological basis of the illness. Through hours of work and in collaboration with doctors and scientists here and around the world, NeuRA has made an amazing breakthrough. For the first time, researchers have discovered the presence of antibodies in the brains of people who lived with schizophrenia. Having found these antibodies, it has led NeuRA researchers to ask two questions. What are they doing there? What should we do about the antibodies– help or remove them? This is a key breakthrough. Imagine if we are treating schizophrenia all wrong! It is early days, but can you imagine the treatment implications if we’ve identified a new biological basis for the disease? It could completely change the way schizophrenia is managed, creating new treatments that will protect the brain. More than this, could we be on the verge of discovering a ‘curable’ form of schizophrenia? How you can help We are so grateful for your loyal support of schizophrenia research in Australia, and today I ask if you will consider a gift today. Or, to provide greater confidence, consider becoming a Discovery Partner by making a monthly commitment. We believe there is great potential to explore these findings. Will you help move today’s breakthrough into tomorrow’s cure? To read more about this breakthrough, click ‘read the full story’ below. You are also invited to read ‘Beth’s story’, whose sweet son Marcus lived with schizophrenia, by clicking here.
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