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Targeting pain modulation mechanisms in musculoskeletal conditions

Chronic musculoskeletal pain among the general population is a major burden on individuals, the health care system, and society. In New Zealand, one in five adults (20%) living with chronic pain, the rate rising steeply with an ageing population. Developing better ways of providing treatment for musculoskeletal pain in an important area for research.

Physio School Senior Lecturer, Ram Mani, is leading an area of research  focussing on investigating comprehensive (holistic) clinical pain mechanisms (central sensitisation, and psychosocial and physical dimensions).  The goal of this research is to develop personalised, targeted treatment strategies for musculoskeletal pain.

Ram's research bridges the limitations of current research on pain mechanisms, which are not comprehensive and therefore limited in clinical utility.

Findings from the current study  (funded by Otago Medical Research Foundation grant) will inform modifiable factors that can be targeted to effect pain mechanisms, and provide the foundation for a future subgrouping studies.

To continue following the development of this study area:  

About Ram:

Ram completed his PhD at the School of Physiotherapy in 2013, exploring pathways for the development of low back pain/injury in the lower back among farmers following exposure to quad bike vibration.

Ram is actively involved in developing pain research at Otago including Deputy Director's role for the University's Pain@Otago Research Theme , and leading the pain education research sub theme . Ram supervises two PhD candidates, both of whom are working in the area of clinical pain mechanisms.  

Ram Mani is a contributing researcher in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Longitudinal Study  (Phase-45), studying the causal links and pathways occurring throughout the life course for the development of persistent musculoskeletal pain including pain sensitivity.

Links to further information

Ram Mani's profile page

Pain@Otago, University of Otago Research Theme To join as an affiliated member, email

Dunedin Multidisiplinary Study

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