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Back pain research

A new way to measure back pain?

Back pain is a common complaint. By one estimate, 80 percent of Americans will experience low-back pain at least once during their lifetime.

One frustration for doctors is the lack of an objective diagnostic test. They can rely only on the patient’s subjective measure of pain.

But that may be about to change. Antonio Quidgley-Nevares, MD, Associate Professor and Chair of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, is working with proteomics experts in the school’s Leroy T. Canoles Jr. Cancer Research Center to study the potential for developing a test. The science of proteomics uses proteins as clues to the presence of disease.

Their study looks for unique proteins in epidural fluid obtained from men undergoing steroid injection. They hope to identify one or more distinct proteins present in individuals who have suffered a back injury. Ultimately, those proteins could be used as the basis for a test.

The Kirk Family Research Fund supports the pilot study. "We are so grateful to the Kirk family for making this research possible," says Serena Amerson, Associate Director of EVMS Development.