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Translational Pain Research


Pain is a common problem that economically and socially impacts the individual, the family and, in turn, the community.  Chronic pain patients often suffer from multiple related problems that adversely impact their quality of life and their ability to fully participate in society.   Progress in pain research is as necessary for the individual as it is for the community. This Center, consisting of two units, is devoted to translational research on pain mechanisms and pain management. 



Clinical Pain Research





A. Chronic Pain

Neuropathic PainComplex regional pain syndrome type I & II
Postherpetic neuralgia
Diabetic neuropathy
Low back and cervical spine pain with radiculopathy (e.g., disc herniation, post-laminectomy syndrome, spinal stenosis)
Trigeminal or occipital neuralgia
Chemotherapy-related neuropathy
Inflammatory/Nociceptive Pain
Degenerative joint disease/osteoarthritis (e.g., sacroiliac joint, hip joint, knee joint, hand joints)
Rheumatoid arthritis
Myofascial pain
Low back and cervical spine pain without radiculopathy (e.g., facet joint disease, discogenic disease)
Cancer-related Pain

B. Postoperative (acute) Pain

Orthopedic surgeries (knee or hip replacement; knee or hip arthroscopic procedures)
Abdominal surgeries

C. Patients on Opioid Therapy

            Cancer pain patients (both inpatient and outpatient)
            Chronic non-malignant pain patients

D. Other Pain Patients

            Chronic pain patients with depression
            Chronic pain patients with issues of substance abuse



The Clinical Research Unit is located at 101 Merrimac Street, Boston, about a block from the MGH main campus.  The Center occupies about 1,464 sq. ft., including two exam/study rooms, a reception area with eight seats, a conference room, and several offices.  The Center has access to the MGH central chemical lab for blood/urine tests and other medical facilities such as MRI.

The Center currently has a staff of MD investigators, study coordinators, research assistants, and research volunteers.  The MD investigators are also attending physicians at the MGH Pain Center.  The Center is currently conducting IRB-approved clinical research projects, which are funded by NIH RO1grants and other extramural funds.

The MGH Pain Center has a large pool of patients with a variety of pain conditions from both inpatient pain service and outpatient pain clinic.  The Center also has access to a much larger pool of patients from the MGH clinical research database and the Partner’s clinical research network, which sends weekly information of research subject recruitment to Partner’s Healthcare-affiliated hospitals including the Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Faulkner Hospital, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, McLean Hospital, North Shore Medical Center, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Partner’s Community Health Care, and MGH institute of Health Professions.


The Preclinical Research Lab is located at the MGH East research facility.  The laboratory occupies approximately 2,450 sq. ft. and has a staff including post-doctoral fellows and research assistants.  Preclinical research is currently funded by NIH RO1 grants.


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  2006 : Massachusetts General Hospital : 101 Merrimac Street,
Suite 610 : Boston : MA
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Contact: Mary Houghton (617) 726-3744 : MGHpainresearch@partners.org