A new project at the University of Newcastle will pave the way for the development of treatments for chronic neck pain.
Professor Bob Callister is interested in the way neck pain can present through delocalised symptoms such as dizziness, disturbed vision, and pain in the upper torso and arms, as opposed to lumbar pain that is generally localised. Delocalised symptoms result in neck pain being difficult to treat.
Research has shown that pain signals are not merely relayed through the spinal cord but are initially processed at that level, where a number of factors determine whether the signals are relayed to higher brain centres to register as pain.
Professor Callister has received $450,000 in funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council to examine whether the spinal cord processing mechanisms differ for the neck and lumbar spinal regions.
Grants of $27,000 from the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) helped Professor Callister develop his early research, which led to the NHMRC grant.
Health and medical research at the University is conducted in collaboration with HMRI. HMRI is a partnership between the University, Hunter New England Health and the community.