Our work concentrates on psychophysical pain testing (e.g. quantitative sensory testing), innovative pain assessments tools (such as the use of PDAs to monitor pain), and the role of psychiatric factors in pain treatment response (i.e., the impact of depression or anxiety on treatment outcome).
We have done significant work on the role of catastrophizing in pain perception and evaluation of opioid therapy efficacy for noncancer pain. We have developed tools for patient selection for opioids, such as a validated measure rating the propensity for opioid misuse, and for monitoring opioid compliance. Most recently, our work in opioids is extending to a clinical trial of opioids in chronic low back pain, evaluating analgesic and functional efficacy in proposed subgroups of responders. We are also conducting a study to validate a bedside clinical exam for neuropathic pain. We collaborate with the Psychiatric Neuroimaging Group at MGH to explore neural correlates of chronic pain perception as seen on fMRI.