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Research Studies

The Nerve Injury Unit, Dept of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital is a clinical and research laboratory dedicated to the clinical diagnosis and research on chronic pain. These are the on-going studies in our lab. If you are interested, please contact us for additional information.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Some patients are diagnosed with neuropathic pain, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), also known as Causalgia and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. Nerve injury is a frequent cause of CRPS. We are trying to understand how and when chronic pain develops after nerve injury. For more information or to participate in our stage 2 clinical trial, please click on the flyer: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Flyer. Enrollment is open.


Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome in which a person has long lasting, body-wide pain and tenderness in their joints and muscles. We are trying to study Fibromyalgia patients to learn about the causes of the disease, to improve diagnosis and treatment. For more information, see: Fibromyalgia Study Brochure

Postherpetic Neuralgia (TMS)

Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a common syndrome caused when a shingles (zoster) rash triggers pain and itch that last after the rash heals. The pain and itch from PHN can be debilitating, and reduce a person’s quality of life. We are studying patients with postherpetic neuralgia to learn about a potential new treatment for pain and itch after shingles called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). For more information, see: Postherpetic Neuralgia (TMS) Study Brochure

Tarlov Cysts and Pelvic Pain

Tarlov cysts, also known as perineurial cysts are small fluid filled sacs, located in the spinal canal of the lower (lumbar-sacral) region of the spinal cord. Not everyone who has Tarlov cysts has symptoms. However, some common symptoms may include: back pain, pain in the perineum and/or buttocks, sciatica, urinary incontinence, difficulty walking, severe lower abdominal pain, painful urination, pelvic pain, and painful intercourse. We are interested in whether pelvic pain symptoms in some women may be due to the presence of these cysts. For more information, see: TC Pelvic Pain Brochure

Gulf War Illness

The Nerve Injury Unit, Dept of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital in conjunction with the Department of Defense, is studying Gulf War Illness in Veterans who served from 1990 to 1991, in the Gulf War Region. We are studying those with Gulf War Illness as well as those who don’t have Gulf War Illness. For more information, see: Gulf War Illness Brochure

Skin-biopsy Study of Small-diameter Nerve Fibers

We are trying to understand the connection between chronic pain and nerve damage, to improve diagnosis and treatment. A general term for this type of nerve damage is Peripheral Neuropathy. For more information, see: Skin-biopsy Study of Small-diameter Nerve Fibers


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disorder, which is due to aging and wear and tear on a joint. We are recruiting patients with non-nerve pain to evaluate the results of tests for nerve pain. For more information, see: Osteoarthritis Study Brochure

Chronic Pain in Fabry Disease

Fabry Disease is a genetically inherited lysosomal disorder caused by an enzyme deficiency. Mild or severe chronic pain is common in Fabry patients. The major cause is thought to be damage and degeneration of pain-sensing nerve fibers. We are trying to learn about the connection between pain and nerve injury in Fabry disease to improve diagnosis and treatment. For more information, see: Fabry Disease Brochure