Endowed Chair

Pain Medicine

The future of pain management – realization of a bright and healthy society without chronic pain
  • New system to evaluate and treat chronic pain and implementation of cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Development, assessment and dissemination of cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic pain and establishment of personnel training
  • Establishment of a multidisciplinary short term intensive treatment program for chronic pain
  • Study of the chronic pain mechanism by resting-state fMRI and development of preventive measures
  • Educate and promote better understanding of chronic pain and provide training of personnel specialized in pain management

Research on chronic pain

In Japan, one in four people suffers from some kind of chronic pain, which impedes everyday life and is associated with enormous cost. Studies in America shows that the economic cost of pain is estimated to be 60 trillion yen annually, exceeding that of cancer, heart diseases and psychiatric diseases. Similar details are not yet available in Japan, which is why it is necessary to first evaluate the impact chronic pain and develop countermeasures. In collaboration with other departments at the Graduate School of Medicine and other universities, we are investigating chronic pain, and also the psychosocial factors leading to its development.

Some of the most cost-effective medical treatments for chronic pain include cognitive behavioral therapy and multidisciplinary short-term intensive treatment. These treatments are generally used at pain centers in the U.S. and Europe for therapeutic purposes, however, in Japan they are still at trial phases in selected institutes only. In collaboration with the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Jikei University School of Medicine, Kobe University, Kawasaki Medical University and Tokuyukai Medical Association, we are working on the development of cognitive behavioral therapy and the implementation of multidisciplinary short-term intensive treatment programs. In order to establish such medical treatment systems in Japan, it is necessary to disseminate accurate knowledge of pain. Our laboratory operates the Pain Center at Osaka University Hospital and educates and trains medical staff, students and general public through on this topic.

Due to advances in brain research, we have identified that the brain plays a major role in chronic pain. By making use of resting-state fMRI, we are investigating the brain mechanism involved in the development of chronic pain and developing new treatments and preventive methods. This research includes clinical studies on chronic pain patients. We are also analyzing functional changes in the brain accompanied by chronic pain in collaboration with multiple universities across the country. Within the university, in collaboration with the Department of Anesthesiology and Department of Orthopedic Surgery, we are working on the development of a method to predict post-surgery occurrence of chronic pain using resting-state fMRI.