Addressing the Unmet Need of Chronic Pain: Providing the Evidence for Treatments of Pain

Project: Central government, health and local authorities

Project Details


Untreated pain is a common problem in both developing and developed societies, across the lifespan. We will produce a suite of systematic reviews that aim to assess the published evidence of high quality studies on treatments for pain. We focus on three neglected areas of practice: Treatments for children in pain, treatments for adults with pain of neuropathic origin, and treatments of pain associated with cancer. We will comprehensively search the record of published evidence for trials (and other well conducted studies) that have sought to answer the question "does treatment X change pain and related outcomes?". We will combine studies on the same technology and provide evidence synthesis and where possible meta-analysis, to estimate the efficacy of different treatments. Our scope will be across both pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments. Where possible we will use a 'rapid review' format. Where possible we will publish Overview reviews. Our aim is to publish all reviews in the three main topic areas in the Cochrane Database for Systematic Reviews and so in the Cochrane Library

Layman's description

Many people suffer from pain that does not got away. Long term pain causes distress and disability and is one of the main reasons for people seeing their GP. People in pain may be given a treatment, but the evidence on what works best is not clear cut. One treatment alone may not help, and people with pain say they want treatment choices. This research will focus on three groups of people who have continual pain whose pain sometimes goes untreated or may not be treated effectively: 1. People with pain that is caused by damage to nerves from disease or an accident 2. Children and young people with pain 3. People who have pain because of cancer. This research is not about doing new studies with people. It involves finding all the good quality research studies that have been published (internationally) on treatments given to the people with the types of pain listed above. It will cover drug treatments such as pain killers as well as psychological treatments such as counselling. For each treatment or intervention, the findings of all relevant studies will be collected and analysed together, resulting in what is called a 'systematic review.' The resulting systematic reviews will aim to answer the question 'Does treatment x work for this group of people with pain?' The evidence from these reviews will be used in treatment guidelines that will change how doctors treat people with these types of pain in the future. The results will also be made available to patients and the public. Members of the public will be involved throughout the review process and will advise on how best to make this information and evidence accessible to patients. These systematic reviews will be published in an international evidence based resource called 'The Cochrane Library'. The aim is that health care will be improved because people can base their treatment decisions on evidence.
Effective start/end date1/07/1431/10/18


  • National Institute for Health Research

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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