PROactive (Pain, rehabilitation and innovation) theme

PROactive (Pain, Rehabilitation and Innovation) is a collaborative partnership of academics and clinicians whose research projects or topic areas are focused on a health condition where chronic pain is a common patient experience. Research interests at UWE Bristol that are related to chronic pain encompass both neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain. Some of our research projects focus on specific conditions such as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and cancer survivorship. Other studies involve people who are living with more generalised and widespread chronic pain. Research involving people who are experiencing persistent pain with a life-limiting condition or during palliative and end of life care are also of particular interest. 
The majority of our members have a background in nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy or psychology. Professional librarians are embedded within the group, as well as a theme co-ordinator. We meet on a bi-monthly basis to discuss current and planned activities, or to identify new opportunities for funding and dissemination of our research. We are also members of the Bristol Health Partners Chronic Pain Health Integration Team, which is currently led by Professor Candy McCabe.

Research focus

We aim to develop and transform approaches to treatment, rehabilitation, and service delivery using high-quality inter-professional research practices for the benefit of those experiencing pain.

All of our projects are categorised into one of four sub-themes:

  • Therapeutic approaches and innovation (non-pharmacological ways to restore function, improve quality of life and to alleviate pain)
  • Health services research (co-design and evaluation of ways to improve the clinical and cost-effectiveness of services)
  • Mechanisms (developing knowledge and understanding to identify targets that improve patient treatment outcomes)
  • Measurements and large datasets (development of questionnaires and measures to record the psychological and physical nature of disability and the effectiveness of treatments)

We also have two cross-cutting themes:

  • Psychological/behavioural (seeing all aspects of rehabilitation research as potentially having a psychological aspect)
  • Patient, professional and public engagement in research

Clinical services are embedded within our research culture so that clinical observations can be developed into research projects and the findings of these projects are fed back into the clinical services. Patients appreciate having an input into developing research projects and access to cutting-edge therapies. Staff members enjoy the academic and clinical challenge of designing, testing and delivering such therapies.

Current funded projects

  • Exploring brain networks and patient descriptions of body perception related musculoskeletal pain to discover new targets for future treatment.
  • International multi-centre feasibility study to explore the feasibility and acceptability of collecting outcome measure data for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome clinical trials (COMPACT).
  • A Sensory Training Device (STS) for use at home by people with persistent limb pain.
  • Establishing a resource 'hub' for patients and healthcare professionals for chronic pain in palliative and end of life care.
  • Understanding and improving patient experiences of diagnosis for vertebral fracture: a qualitative study.
  • Developing immersive nature walk experiences using technology for the benefit of pain management.
  • Establishing evidence-based management of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome to improve clinical outcomes throughout the care pathway (ENACT-CRPS).
  • Development of a protocol to establish the first international clinical research registry for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

You may also be interested in