Low Back Pain Phenotyping: A Rehabilitation Approach

February 24, 2020



Gwendolyn Sowa, MD, PhD, director, UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, and chair, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, is co-PI 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.

“Numerous factors contribute to low back pain, and because every patient is unique, they do not respond to treatments in the same way. Opioids are not necessarily the answer for this type of chronic pain,” said Dr. Sowa.

“Prior efforts to individualize treatments have been based on isolated characteristics,” she continued. “Our approach of integrating the biological, biomechanical and behavioral contributors to CLBP, combined with novel mathematical modeling, will provide predictive tools to help personalize treatments like never before.”

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 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation