Advancing clinical research on pain management is a core goal of the Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative, or NIH HEAL InitiativeSM. The NIH HEAL Initiative will support both new clinical trial programs and the expansion of existing programs to evaluate the safety and efficacy of innovative therapies for pain management. These clinical trials will help establish evidence-based guidelines for treating pain with non-opioid therapies to reduce use of prescription opioid medications.

Research Spotlight

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Researcher manipulating a plastic replica of the spine.

Research Spotlight

Piecing Together the Puzzle of Chronic Low Back Pain

A computer model may be able to inspire new insights and treatments.

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Research Spotlight

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A smiling woman next to the words, “First, I’ll teach you how pain is affected by — and how it affects — your actions, feelings, and thoughts.”

Research Spotlight

Prescribing a Website for Chronic Pain

Researchers test whether a phone- or web-based program can help people cope with long-term pain.

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Research Spotlight

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An animation of an African American man in a doctor’s office. He is holding his back and his facial expression shows he is in pain.

Research Spotlight

High Tech Simulations Aim to Reduce Disparities in Pain Care

Virtual patients train real doctors to understand, overcome their biases when judging patients’ risk of opioid misuse.

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Research Programs

Research from the Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures Program will form a comprehensive data set that can be used to help predict which patients will recover from acute pain associated with surgery or injury and which ones will develop long-lasting chronic pain. This information will help guide approaches to pain management.

The Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network (EPPIC-Net) seeks to enhance the treatment of acute and chronic pain and reduce reliance on opioids by establishing a network for early-phase clinical trials of non-addictive treatments for pain. EPPIC-Net is made up of more than 12 specialized clinical centers, each of which has multiple sites, and two centers to support infrastructure.

In conjunction with the Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network (EPPIC-Net), the Back Pain Consortium (BACPAC) Research Program will conduct studies to better understand common pain conditions, such as chronic low back pain; improve methods to characterize pain; and develop improved diagnostic and treatment tools for pain. NIH will also support research to identify, prioritize, and test therapies based on a detailed analysis of the nature and cause of back pain in individual patients.  

The Pain Management Effectiveness Research Network (ERN) will provide infrastructure to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials designed to evaluate the effectiveness of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapies for a broad array of acute and chronic pain conditions. The ERN will help provide critical information for optimal pain management in clinical settings.

The Pragmatic and Implementation Studies for the Management of Pain to Reduce Opioid Prescribing (PRISM) program supports clinical research to integrate evidence-based interventions for pain into the health care system. Studies will take place in real-world settings to determine the effectiveness of multiple therapies to address pain conditions.  

The Hemodialysis Opioid Prescription Effort consortium will support an integrated approach to pain and opioid use in hemodialysis patients. Large amounts of opioids for pain are typically prescribed for the hemodialysis patient population. This consortium will support studies to develop and test the combination of various non-opioid treatment approaches with this population.

Funded Projects

2020
The Spine Phenome Project: Enabling Technology for Personalized Medicine
Mar 19, 2020
2020
Wearable nanocomposite sensor system for diagnosing mechanical sources of low back pain and guiding rehabilitation
Mar 19, 2020
2019
A sequenced-strategy for improving outcomes in patients with knee osteoarthritis pain
Sep 25, 2019
2019
California Clinical and Translational Pain Research Consortium
Sep 25, 2019
2020
University of Michigan BACPAC Mechanistic Research Center
Mar 19, 2020

Open Funding Opportunities

2020
Pragmatic and Implementation Studies for the Management of Pain to Reduce Opioid Prescribing (PRISM) (UG3/UH3, Clinical Trials Optional)
Jan 23, 2020
2020
Notice of Special Interest to Encourage Eligible NIH HEAL Initiative Awardees to Apply for Administrative Supplements to Promote Training in Clinical Research on Pain (Admin Supp – Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Apr 10, 2020

Closed Funding Opportunities

2019
HEAL Initiative: Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network - Specialized Clinical Centers (U24 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Sep 25, 2019

Request for Information (RFI) on the NIH Back Pain Consortium (BACPAC) Research Program

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National Institutes of Health, Office of Extramural Research. Grants & Funding. NIH's central resource for grants and funding information.

Request for Information (RFI) on the NIH Back Pain Consortium (BACPAC) Research Program

This highly collaborative research program will be composed of mechanistic research centers and technology sites that will conduct translational research and phase 2 clinical trials to deliver an integrated model of back pain and patient-based algorithms to facilitate the identification of treatments tailored to the individual patient.

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NIH. National Institutes of Health

NIH research program to explore the transition from acute to chronic pain

The National Institutes of Health has launched the Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures (A2CPS) program to investigate the biological characteristics underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain.

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