The PROactive research collaboration has been awarded funding for two large-scale studies, contributing to a total of more than £1 million in research grants that they have received during 2016-17.
PROactive is a collaborative partnership between the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH). It brings together academics and clinicians from a range of different research groups, including members of the Integrated Pain Management Health Integration Team (HIT). All of the research projects and topic areas are focused on a health condition where chronic pain is a common patient experience. All of the research projects and topic areas are focused on a health condition where chronic pain is a common patient experience.
Dr Jenny Lewis, UWE Senior Lecturer in the Department of Allied Health Professions, and Occupational Therapist at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, has been awarded the prestigious Arthritis Research UK Pain Challenge Award. Pain is the main concern for people with long-term musculoskeletal conditions, but current treatments for persistent pain relief have limited effect.
Research carried out by Dr Lewis explores a drug-free approach using visual manipulation techniques. However, the brain processes responsible for this rapid pain reduction during the illusion are currently unknown.
The aim of this new project is to better understand brain processes involved in pain and altered body perception, and how that impacts on the lives of people with hand osteoarthritis and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). The data collected from participants will be supported by brain imaging scanning, with the overall aim of discovering new brain network targets for future treatment. A team of international experts are involved in the study, which started in June 2017.
The other award is for Core Outcome Measurement set for complex regional PAin syndrome Clinical sTudies (COMPACT), which involves an international team of patients, clinicians, researchers and representatives from industry. It is difficult to bring different research findings together, so this study has agreed on a minimum set of questionnaire outcome measures that will be recommended for use in all CRPS clinical studies.
A research paper presenting the core measurement set was accepted for publication in March 2017 by PAIN – a renowned publication produced by the International Association for the Study of Pain. The new funding will be used to undertake a feasibility study in autumn 2017, which will test whether the method of collecting data using the recommended COMPACT measures is practical.
A separate funding grant has been awarded to explore the potential of using an electronic data management system to collect and maintain the COMPACT data. This will give researchers the opportunity to access a consistent, international collection of data, which can be used to gain a better understanding of CRPS.
Funding has also been granted to support several other projects in areas such as promoting engagement in physical activity in early rheumatoid arthritis, and evaluating musculoskeletal physiotherapy in primary care.