Pain Evaluation and Treatment Institute

Pain Evaluation and Treatment Institute (PETI) researchers studied the impact of chronic pain on the functioning of persons with spinal cord injuries and amputations. Project aims included reducing pain through optimal wheelchair fitting; assessing the efficacy of combined physical and psychological therapies; and measuring the effect of the pain treatment program and wheelchair modifications on functional ability. This project was sponsored by the Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research of NIH.

In another study, funded by the National Institute of Dental Research of NIH, PETI investigators, in collaboration with investigators from the School of Dental Medicine and the Department of Radiology, are evaluating the clinical utility of conservative measures, such as EMG biofeedback, physical therapy, and flurbiprofen, for the treatment of temporomandibular disorders (TMDs). The study also seeks to validate a research diagnostic classification system of TMDs based on physical signs and symptoms.

In addition, PETI investigators are evaluating the efficacy of a form of acupuncture, percutaneous nerve stimulation (PENS), in the treatment of community-dwelling older adults suffering from persistent low back pain. This pilot project is part of a Multipurpose Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Center Grant funded by NIH. The primary aims of this research are to: (1) reduce pain severity in older adults with persistent low back pain through the use of PENS, and (2) improve the psychological, physical, and cognitive function of these patients. A controlled clinical trial is being conducted with 50 older adults, ages 65 and over.

With support from the National Arthritis Foundation, PETI investigators evaluated pain, fatigue, and psychological distress factors influencing the quality of life, productivity, and health-care utilization of persons with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). A controlled clinical trial is being conducted with 120 SLE patients to evaluate the increased utility of a cognitive-behavioral treatment for chronic pain compared with usual medical care for this patient sample.

Supported by the Raymond and Elizabeth Bloch Educational and Charitable Foundation, PETI researchers conducted numerous clinical trials for headache patients. Ongoing headache research projects include: (1) the epidemiology of headache in women, (2) a masked trial to evaluate the efficacy of restrictive diets as a treatment for migraine, (3) evaluation of gender differences in headache patients, particularly those seeking treatment, (4) identification of headache subjects at risk for psychological distress, and (5) evaluation of the features desired by headache patients in therapy.