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Contact Details

Phone
+64 3 479 3485
Email
ramakrishnan.mani@otago.ac.nz
Position
Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Undergraduate Studies) Director, Pain at Otago Research Theme
Qualifications
DAc BPhty MPhty(Manual Therapy) PGCert PhD(Otago)
Research summary
Chronic pain, sensitisation, longitudinal MSK pain research, neuromodulation, knowledge translation
Teaching
  • Pain, Chronic Pain and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy undergraduate and postgraduate Programmes
  • PAIN 701 Neurobiology of Pain, Pain Management Programmes, University of Otago, Christchurch
  • Research supervision for summer, honours, master’s, and PhD research
Memberships
  • Pain at Otago Research Theme
  • The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, Co-PI: Musculoskeletal Pain
  • BRAI3N Group: Brain Research consortium for Advanced Innovative & Interdisciplinary Neuromodulation, Investigator
  • International Association for the Study of Pain including IASP Membership and Chapter Committee
  • New Zealand Pain Society Inc., Council Member
  • Australia & New Zealand Musculoskeletal (ANZMUSC) Clinical Trials Network
  • Undergraduate Committee, School of Physiotherapy, Chair
  • Executive Committee, School of Physiotherapy
  • Physiotherapy New Zealand
Clinical
  • Assessment of pain mechanisms in clinical practice
  • Use of bedside QST in clinical practice to recognise sensitisation in clinical practice

Research

My research aims to provide an interdisciplinary understanding of mechanisms driving pain experience and test interventions targeting mechanistic factors to improve clinical outcomes in people with acute and chronic neuro-musculoskeletal pain.

Our Otago Pain Mechanisms and Neuromodulation (OPaMeN) research group use observational, experimental, proof-of-concept, and clinical trial (efficacy and effectiveness) designs to investigate the following projects and its objectives.

Research projects

Pain phenotyping in acute and chronic pain

  1. To identify and predict sensitisation (QST), cortical (EEG) activity, molecular phenotypes on acute and chronic pain experience, including treatment responses
  2. To explore the influence of cognitive, affective, sleep and physical activity/sedentariness on pain phenotypes in people with acute and chronic pain
Co-investigators
  • Dr Divya Adhia, Research Fellow, Department of Surgical Sciences, Otago Medical School, University of Otago
  • Dr Carrie Falling, Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research, University of Otago
  • Professor Dirk De Ridder, Department of Surgical Sciences, Otago Medical School, University of Otago
  • Associate Professor Rajesh Katare, Department of Physiology, Otago School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Otago

Neuromodulation and self-regulatory interventions for musculoskeletal pain

  1. To test non-invasive, neuromodulatory/neurofeedback, and self-regulatory interventions for improving clinical pain outcomes
  2. To identify mechanisms by which interventions exerts its effects on clinical pain outcomes
Co-investigators
  • Professor Dirk De Ridder, Department of Surgical Sciences, Otago Medical School, University of Otago
  • Dr Divya Adhia, Research Fellow, Department of Surgical Sciences, Otago Medical School, University of Otago

The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (Dunedin Study)

To investigate the role of early biopsychosocial exposures on pain experience in adults.

Co-investigators
  • Professor David Baxter, Director- Men's Health Research Centre, School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago.

Otago and national collaborators

  • Associate Professor Nicola Swain, School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago
  • Professor Ted Shipton, Pain at Otago Research Theme, Department of Anesthesia, University of Otago
  • Associate Professor, Steve Tumilty, School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago
  • Dr Ben Hudson, Head of the Department, General Practice, University of Otago, Christchurch
  • Dr Saad Anis, Clinical Director, Pain medicine, Specialist, Chronic Pain services, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
  • Dr Erik Wibowo, Lecturer, Department of Anatomy, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Otago
  • Associate Professor Jeremiah Deng, Department of Information Science, University of Otago
  • Katrina Bryant, Lecturer, Te Kura Komiri Pai, School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago
  • Dr Luke Wilson, Research fellow, Integrative human physiologist, Otago Medical School, University of Otago
  • Dr Sharon Awatere, The Health Boutique, Napier, New Zealand

International collaborators

  • Professor Jo Nijs, Department of Physiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
  • Professor Roger Fillingim, Director, Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence, University of Florida, USA
  • Associate Professor Fadel Zeidan, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Southern California, San Diego, USA
  • Professor Kavitha Raja, Deputy director of JSS Rehabilitation Centre, India
  • Associate Professor Sven Vanneste, Director, Global Brain Health Institute, Lab for Clinical and Integrative Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin

Supervision

Early career researchers

  • Dr Carrie Falling, Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research, University of Otago
    Project: Persistent pain experiences in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Dr Divya Adhia, Research Fellow, Department of Surgical Sciences, Otago Medical School, University of Otago
    Project: Neuromodulation for Chronic Low Back Pain

PhD students

Primary

Jerin Mathew (International)
PhD Thesis: Neurofeedback Intervention to Modulate Knee Osteoarthritic Pain Experience

Mark Overton (Domestic)
PhD Thesis: Does a Pain Sensitization Phenotype Predict Biopsychosocial Ecological Momentary Assessment Outcomes in People with Knee Osteoarthritis?

Rani Othman (International)
PhD Thesis: Profiling pain sensitisation phenotypes in individuals with acute and chronic shoulder pain.

Co-supervision

Alicia J Emerson (International), High Point University, USA.
PhD Thesis: Invisible disease affecting invisible populations: exploring how the geopolitical, historical, and societal spectrum impacts marginalised populations' experiences with chronic musculoskeletal pain management.

PhD completions

Dr Carrie Falling (Domestic)
PhD Thesis: Persistent musculoskeletal pain among individuals with immune-mediated chronic inflammatory conditions

Dr Abdullah Alqarni (International)
PhD Thesis: Translating knowledge on pain mechanisms into clinical practice

Dr Poonam Mehta (International)
PhD Thesis: Minimum clinically important changes of pain intensity and functional outcome measures in chronic neuropathic pain

Master's thesis

Jerin Mathew
Neurofeedback for musculoskeletal pain

David Williams
A qualitative examination of the understanding, perceptions, and attitudes of physiotherapists to the STarTBack Approach

Honours thesis

Carrie Falling, School of Physiotherapy
Two-point discrimination thresholds of the knee and low back regions

Funding

  • Health Research Council Feasibility Grant,PI
  • Health Research Council Programme Grant, NI; Dunedin Study
  • Health Research Council Emerging Researcher First Grant, NI
  • Health Research Council Health Delivery Project Grant, NI
  • IASP Developing Countries Project: Initiative for Improving Pain Education, NI
  • Otago Medical Research Foundation, Jack Thompson Arthritis Fund, PI
  • University of Otago Research Grant PI
  • Lottery Health Translational Research Grant, NI
  • Healthcare Otago Trust Fund, NI
  • DSM Dean's Bequest funding, NI
  • Pain at Otago Research Theme, PI
  • Physiotherapy New Zealand Scholarship Trust Fund, NI

Publications

Adhia, D. B., Mani, R., Turner, P., O'Leary, F., Hall, M., Reynolds, J. N. J., Vanneste, S., & De Ridder, D. (2024). High-definition transcranial infraslow pink noise stimulation for chronic low back pain: A pilot, safety, and feasibility randomised placebo-controlled trial. Proceedings of the New Zealand Pain Society (NZPS) Annual Scientific Meeting: Empowering Pain Management in New Zealand. Retrieved from https://www.nzps2024.nz/ Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Overton, M., Swain, N., Falling, C., Gwynne-Jones, D., Fillingim, R., & Mani, R. (2024). Does sensitisation predict the variable knee osteoarthritis pain experience? [Invited]. Proceedings of the New Zealand Pain Society (NZPS) Annual Scientific Meeting: Empowering Pain Management in New Zealand. Retrieved from https://www.nzps2024.nz/ Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Overton, M., Swain, N., Falling, C., Gwynne-Jones, D., Fillingim, R., & Mani, R. (2024). Activity-related pain and sensitization predict within- and between-person pain experience in people with knee osteoarthritis: An ecological momentary assessment study. Osteoarthritis & Cartilage Open, 100439. doi: 10.1016/j.ocarto.2024.100439 Journal - Research Article

Mani, R., Adhia, D. B., Awatere, S., Gray, A. R., Mathew, J., Wilson, L. C., Still, A., Jackson, D., Hudson, B., … De Ridder, D. (2024). Self-regulation training for people with knee osteoarthritis: A protocol for a feasibility randomised control trial (MiNT Trial). Frontiers in Pain Research, 4, 1271839. doi: 10.3389/fpain.2023.1271839 Journal - Research Other

Mathew, J., Perez, T. M., Adhia, D. B., De Ridder, D., & Mani, R. (2024). Is there a difference in EEG characteristics in acute, chronic, and experimentally induced musculoskeletal pain states? A systematic review. Clinical EEG & Neuroscience, 55(1), 101-120. doi: 10.1177/15500594221138292 Journal - Research Article

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