Pain poses the largest health-related burden on society: it is the primary cause of emergency room visits and long-term disability and costs Canadians over $53 billion per year. In addition, pain severely diminishes the quality of life of the individual and those around them. Although pain signals come from the body, the experience of pain is created in the brain. However, how and where pain emerges in the brain is not known; we do not know which brain regions can be targeted to manage pain. This limits our ability to treat pain effectively, especially when it lasts longer than is needed to protect the person — i.e., chronic pain. This lack of understanding has led to social and health crises, such as the opioid crisis.
The Centre for Sensorimotor and Pain Research uses innovative approaches to find pain-specific activity in the brain and its relationship to the source of pain in the body. The Centre uses a multi-pronged approach to understand how pain is represented in the brains of healthy people and in those with chronic pain.
Our overall goal is to improve treatment outcomes by identifying patients who respond to existing treatments and developing new treatments for those who do not.