Rodrigo Rizzo is a Doctoral Candidate at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and University of New South Wales (UNSW). He is a physiotherapist who has worked in the management of chronic pain for over 15 years. Rod became interested in understanding the effect of clinical hypnosis for chronic pain, and in 2018, he published the first randomised controlled trial combining clinical hypnosis with pain neuroscience education.
Supervised by Prof James McAuley and A/Prof Sylvia Gustin, Rod is using quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate mechanisms of interventions for treating back pain. Using qualitative research, he wants to understand people’s beliefs about treatments that target the brain for the management of back pain. Using quantitative analysis, he investigates whether and how interventions designed to change the nervous system work in patients with pain. Rod’s current projects include:
Rod is a member of the Centre for Pain IMPACT (investigating mechanisms of pain to advance clinical translation), which is a collaboration of pain researchers at NeuRA, who have a focus on encompassing basic science through to clinical and translational research. Rod was also the lead organiser for this group from 2019-2020.
Osteoarthritis affects more than 20% of Australians aged over 60. The knee joint is commonly affected, causing persistent pain and difficulty in daily activities. Although exercise is the cornerstone of conservative treatment for knee osteoarthritis and recommended in all international guidelines, its effects are, at best, moderate.
BOOST is a ‘proof of concept’ study to explore the use of a novel intervention combining non-invasive brain stimulation and exercise therapy in people with knee osteoarthritis. This intervention applies repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, a safe and painless non-invasive brain stimulation, targeting specifically the brain region involved in pain processing and motor function to enhance the effects of exercise therapy.
The study might be a good fit for you if you:
If you are eligible and agree to participate, you will be asked to attend 2 sessions per week for 6 weeks (each session includes 15 minutes of active or sham brain stimulation plus 30 minutes one-to-one exercise by a physiotherapist); 2 testing sessions (about 1.5 hours per session) before the start and after the completion of the intervention. All sessions will take place in a laboratory at NeuRA.
If you would like more information or are interested in being part of the study, please contact:
Name: Dr Wei-Ju Chang
Phone: 02 9399 1260
This research is being funded by the ANZMUSC Clinical Trial Network.
Medicines are the most common treatment for back pain. The aim of this program of research is to improve our understanding of the clinical effects of medicines.
Studies currently in progress:
Medicines for Back Pain – Publications:
Medicines for Back Pain – Registrations of Study Protocols:
There are a growing number of studies using mediation analysis to understand the mechanisms of health interventions and exposures. Recent work has shown that the reporting of these studies is heterogenous and incomplete. This problem stifles clinical application, reproducibility, and evidence synthesis. The development and implementation of A Guideline for Reporting Mediation Analyses (AGReMA) will improve the standardization, transparency, and completeness in the reporting of studies that use mediation analysis to understand the mechanisms of health interventions and exposures.
Cashin AG, McAuley JH, Lamb SE, Hopewell S, Kamper SJ, Williams CM, Henschke N, Lee H. (2020). Development of A Guideline for Reporting Mediation Analyses (AGReMA). BMC Med Res Methodol 20(1):19. doi: 10.1186/s12874-020-0915-5. PMID: 32013883
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The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of medicines targeting neurotrophins in patients with LBP and sciatica. This systematic review and meta-analysis will assess the evidence for the efficacy and safety of NGF inhibitors for pain in patients with nonspecific LBP and sciatica. The inclusion of new studies and unpublished data may improve the precision of the effect estimates and guide regulatory actions of the medications for LBP and sciatica.
The timing of the assessment influenced the mediating role of pain catastrophizing on pain intensity. These results raise questions on the casual role that pain catastrophizing has on pain intensity. Psychosocial interventions such as clinical hypnosis can reduce pain intensity even when there has been no change in pain catastrophizing.