Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre

Our research


Our mission is to pursue international excellence in multidisciplinary, translational research, thereby enhancing understanding of arthritis pain and improving its treatment.

The Centre is engaged in a programme of linked studies investigating mechanisms and treatments for arthritis pain in the laboratory, clinic and everyday life, using a comprehensive range of modern research methodologies. Our research spans across seven synergistic areas such as; Preclinical studies, Pain imaging, Psychology and perception, Clinical pain phenotyping, Clinical trials, Epidemiology and biobanks, Evidence based medicine and the Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre (BRC); Musculoskeletal theme.


Preclinical studies

The Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre is investigating interactions between the arthritic joint and the peripheral and central processing of painful inputs originating from the joint.  A range of experimental models of arthritis pain and molecular and analytical studies of clinical samples from people with arthritis are helping us to identify novel analgesic targets for the treatment of pain in arthritis. 

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Pain imaging

Pain is a complex multidimensional experience. Understanding its neural basis provides an important biological and mechanistic framework from which we can develop a better understanding of how people experience arthritis pain. The Pain Imaging group is examining both the structural anatomical changes of the joints, and the neural processing of the experience of chronic pain associated with arthritis using high-field, multimodal, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 

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Psychology and perception

Psychological factors are important components of the multidimensional experience of pain. Patients’ emotional (e.g., depression and anxiety), cognitive (e.g. self-efficacy and acceptance) and social (e.g. interactions) state can all be affected, and influence the sensation of pain. We are using both quantitative and qualitative research methods in order to advance knowledge of the pain experience in people with arthritis and to guide the development and testing of new treatments.

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Clinical pain phenotyping

The pain experience is a complex result of arthritis in the joint, processing of pain signals by nerves and in the central nervous system and moderation by genetic, psychological and environmental factors.  We are using a variety of methods including questionnaires, quantitative sensory testing and imaging in order to better understand and measure all facets of arthritis pain.

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Clinical trials

Building on our track record of community-based clinical trials in knee osteoarthritis, we currently are pursuing trials that aim to increase understanding of arthritis pain mechanisms and improve pain, for example by overcoming barriers that otherwise reduce benefits from joint replacement surgery.

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Epidemiology and biobanks

Understanding the key factors associated with and predicting pain in arthritis is essential in order to better identify those at greatest risk, to inform treatment choices and to develop preventative and treatment strategies to reduce the burden or arthritis pain in society. Genetic and biomarker studies can identify molecular pathways that contribute to arthritis pain and help us to understand how individuals respond to different treatments.  Our extensive collections of data, biofluids and tissues provide a key resource for addressing these research questions.

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Evidence based medicine

We undertake systematic reviews and meta-analyses in order to robustly interpret research evidence, to inform and influence our programme or research, the scientific community and clinical practice.  We lead the development of the European evidence based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of osteoarthritis, gout and CPPD related arthritis and the global evidence based treatment guidelines for hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA).

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BRC Mohsen

Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre (BRC); Musculoskeletal Theme

20% of the UK population attendances in primary care for musculoskeletal conditions (£5b NHS spend each year), are due to age-related musculoskeletal diseases. With associated comorbidities (cardiovascular, metabolic, obesity, neurological, mental health), these increasingly threaten independence and challenge healthcare budgets.  The multi-disciplinary NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Musculoskeletal Theme investigates ways of preventing and treating musculoskeletal problems. Further information


Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre

Clinical Sciences Building
City Hospital
Nottingham, NG5 1PB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 823 1766 ext 31766
fax: +44 (0) 115 823 1757