Skip to Content

Low Back Pain Phenotyping: An Orthopaedic Approach

February 24, 2020

Nam Vo, PhD, associate professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Gwendolyn Sowa, MD, PhD, director, UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, and chair, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, are co-PIs for a new Mechanistic Research Center awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This $16.8 million grant from the NIH will establish the Low Back Pain: Biological, Biomechanical, Behavioral Phenotypes Mechanistic Research Center (LB3P MRC) at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh.

“It has become evident that chronic low back pain is incredibly complex and heterogeneous. We wouldn’t treat a tiger the same as a house cat even though they are both technically felines, and for this same reason, we should not treat all humans the same,” said Dr. Vo. “We have the infrastructure, the clinical and scientific resources and, now, the funding, to address this problem with a truly multidisciplinary approach.”

The LB3P MRC was established with NIH funding from its Helping to End Addiction Long-term, or the NIH HEAL, Initiative, which launched in April 2018 to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder and overdose, and achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction. This research is funded by NIH grant 1U19AR076725-01.

Learn more about the UPMC Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation