We have a full programme of research into diverse aspects of the study of pain:

Pain and Depression

We are running two projects exploring pain-related distress in people living with chronic pain. The first, in collaboration with The Cochrane Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care group, The University of Bath, UCL, and Keele University, is funded by the NIHR, and is a systematic review with mixed treatment comparisons meta analysis of anti-depressant treatment for adults with chronic pain.
The second, funded by Versus Arthritis, entitled ‘Developing a patient-centred evidence-based intervention to address distress in the context of chronic MSK pain’, is a collaboration between Royal Holloway, University of Keele, and the University of Southampton.


The RISE project examines how individual placement and support (IPS) can help people with musculoskeletal pain get back to work. The research is led by Rob Froud from the University of Warwick. Here at Royal Holloway we are carrying out systematic reviews of similar trials using IPS, and which sub-groups of people best respond to it. The RISE project is funded by Arthritis Research UK.


The iPoP project tests an intervention to help older people with pain get active by walking. It is based in the Research Institute for Primary Care & Health Sciences at Keele University and is funded by Arthritis Research UK.


CHESS is a programme grant that focuses on chronic headaches. Here at Royal Holloway we have carried out systematic reviews to examine which components of existing interventions appear to be more effective and for whom. The Primary Investigator, Martin Underwood, and our collaborators at the University of Warwick are working to develop and test a new intervention for people with chronic headaches. This research is funded by NIHR.

Effective Reassurance

We are studying how to provide effective reassurance in consultations for people with musculoskeletal pain. Our studies have been funded by Eurospine and have been carried out mainly in primary care. We have been able to develop a model of reassurance and a reliable and valid measure, and we are now working to explore how surgeons reassure patients with low back pain when they decide not to intervene with surgery.

New Technology

We are also very interested in using new technology to help people with pain. The Rosetrees Trust has funded our research looking at how artificial intelligence can ‘code’ the movements of patients to alert them to harmful movements (link to pure). We are working with Alison McGregor from Imperial College on new projects in this area.