There have been tremendous advances in our understanding of the basic science of pain within the past few decades, and this information needs to be translated into clinical practice so that our diagnostic and treatment paradigms match our current knowledge. Even though pain is the presenting complaint for most individuals with musculoskeletal pain, very few clinicians seeing these patients have training in either pain assessment or management. Even fewer clinicians perform research related to pain. This situation puts large groups of investigators and clinicians at a disadvantage if they do not understand modern pain translational research as they study, evaluate, and treat individuals with rheumatic diseases. By gathering together leaders in pain and musculoskeletal disorders we will be taking a significant step toward narrowing the gap between translational research in pain and pain management. The proposed conference will represent the first of its kind. In a single conference it will bring together internationally recognized experts in a broad range of domains in the pain field, as well as similarly esteemed faculty that broadly represent the rheumatology field. The didactic seminars, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities are all designed to bring two worlds of investigators together to stimulate interdisciplinary research between individuals who study musculoskeletal disorders, and those who study pain and other sensory symptoms.
The specific aims of the conference are: 1) To examine the aggregate state-of-the-art knowledge in the pain field, especially regarding the role that neural factors play in affecting individual pain sensitivity. 2) To discuss the latest research techniques in the pain field, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each technique. 3) To stimulate new interdisciplinary relationships, including mentor-mentee relationships, between individuals in pain research and those studying musculoskeletal diseases. 4) To disseminate the knowledge gained from this conference. Over a period of one and a half days, the group of experts will engage in a concentrated exchange of ideas during general discussions that follow formal presentations and in separate break-out sessions. These interactions will be summarized in a statement reviewing of all the topics covered and incorporating review articles submitted by speakers. The conference will ultimately lead to a durable publication in a monograph, as well as one or more position papers presenting group findings and recommendations to be published in a peer reviewed journal (such as Arthritis and Rheumatism). The collaborative and interactive nature of the proposed workshop will ensure that the recommendations generated will have a broad impact on the scientific community, and will generate collaborative, interactive research amongst scientists and clinicians with an interest in rheumatic illnesses.
The proposed workshop is conceptualized to serve as a vehicle to foster ?interdisciplinary communication and collaboration? by identifying knowledge gaps and research needs for the study of pain in rheumatic illnesses. To this end, the proposed workshop will function as a forum to gather and evaluate current state-of-the-art knowledge about the role of pain in rheumatic and other somatic illnesses, including underlying causes and mechanisms, perpetuating factors, and possible treatment modalities using the medical model. We will bring together a select group of renowned basic and applied biomedical researchers and clinicians from a wide range of scientific disciplines and professions, along with representatives from government and regulatory agencies, as well as of public support groups, all with an interest in either pain or musculoskeletal disorders. Ultimately, discussion amongst participants will help to direct the direction of future pain research in rheumatic illnesses and will form the basis for setting forth research priorities for the study of pain in rheumatic illnesses. The collaborative and interactive nature of the proposed workshop will ensure that the recommendations generated by the expert workgroup will have a broad impact on the scientific community, and will generate both collaborative and interactive research amongst scientists with an interest in pain and rheumatic illnesses to further the community at large.