Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon

Pain@Otago aims to reduce the impact of pain on an individual, family, and societal level. We intend to engage with our communities to help determine the important research questions, and to widely disseminate our findings for the benefit of the wider community.

Follow news about our theme including research from members and upcoming events on our twitter page

Events for the public

Past Events

Pain@Otago celebration showcase

During the 6 years that Pain@Otago has been a research theme there has been significant growth in the field of pain research. This event celebrated the collaborations with communities and other researchers across New Zealand and internationally.
Date: Friday 3rd December 2021

Programme available at

2020 Pain@Otago webinar series

  • Persistent pain in refugees and marginalised populations. Alicia Emerson (High Point University, North Carolina) 27th February 12pm NZT

Pain in Children and Young Adults - 11 July 2018

Date: 11 July,
Time: 6 - 7.30pm,
Venue: St David's Lecture Theatre or Online at

Persistent Pain in children and adolescence is a significant health burden on family and society. It interferes with participation in schooling, sport/leisure activities, and relationship with peers; potentially leading to social isolation and/or loneliness. Research shows that a significant proportion of adolescents report pain and the rates of pain rise steeply from childhood to adolescence.

This panel discussion will highlight recent research in this area and discuss the best treatment approaches, encompassing the holistic experience of pain, for providing support to enhance function, despite having pain. This panel session is proudly part of the New Zealand International Science Festival

Read more about the event and programme

The power of the mind in controlling pain - 8 July 2018

workshop scieAs part of the New Zealand International Science Festival members of the Pain@Otago hosted a science demonstration on the power of mind in controlling your pain. We had a great day out at the Wall Street Mall and a fantastic response from the Dunedin community. Folks from 5 to 87 years old learning more about our theme and the power of the mind in pain!

Pictured right: members of the theme at the event.


2019 media coverage

Professor David Baxter

Professor Dirk De Ridder

Dr Hemakumar Devan

Dr Tracey Pons

Professor Ted Shipton

2018 media coverage

Pain editorial in NZMJ - media coverage

Members of the Pain@Otago steering committee, Nicola Swain (Lead author), Louise Parr-Brownlie, Bronnie Lennox-Thompson, Ben Darlow, Ram Mani, and David Baxter, published an editorial in the New Zealand Medical Journal on six key points about pain:

  • Pain is always real. Despite this, patients continue to be characterised as “malingering” or “attention seeking” and judgments are made about drug seeking or illness behaviours. “To query whether a particular patient's pain is real is a nonsense,” the editorial states.
  • Persistent pain and acute pain need to be treated differently. There have been calls for persistent pain to be considered a disease in itself.
  • Persistent pain is extremely common and increasing. Persistent pain, defined as pain that persists for at least six months, is extremely common and affects 20.2 per cent of the New Zealand population. The prevalence is rising both in New Zealand and globally, partly because of an aging population.
  • Biomedical treatment has limited effectiveness.
  • There are ethnicity and gender differences in perceptions and experience of pain. Pasifika and Asian populations are less likely to report pain than Europeans. There are also differences in the way men and women experience pain.
  • Pain education is lacking.

For media coverage:

Chronic pain 'steals life' from one in five New

Persistent pain: One in five New Zealanders suffer and many can't get good

Doctors told to believe patients in

The persistent pain affecting one in five

Pain common and increasing in prevalence in NZ -

Radio New Zealand - Dr Hem Devan: dealing with chronic pain

Hear Dr Hem Devan on Radio New Zealand (26 August 2018) talking about dealing with chronic pain:

A review published in the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association, features the work of NZ medical professionals and researchers, exploring how patients with chronic pain can best manage it. The review analysed 33 studies and the experiences of more than 500 people, and was undertaken by the University of Otago's School of Physiotherapy in Wellington, and the Pain Management Service of the Capital Coast District Health Board. Pain researcher Dr Hemakumar Devan, from the School of Physiotherapy was the lead researcher for the review. Listen to the interview.

Radio New Zealand - Why is it more painful if we hurt our toes when they're cold? Ram Mani

Hear Dr Ram Mani's explanation on RNZ's "One quick question" segment for

Why is it more painful if we hurt our toes when they're cold? Listen to Ram's response here.

Back to top