Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Care: School of Medicine: University of California, Irvine

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Pain Research

Pain Medicine Research

Areas of Interests

Acute Pain

Regional anesthesia is a hot topic in anesthesiology of late, and the acute pain team at UC Irvine Medical Center is helping contribute to the growing body of research in this area. Comparison of different regional techniques for nerve blocks is a standard subject in this field, but we are also looking at intrinsic differences (for example, between genders and different ethnicities) within our diverse patient populations to assess ways of improving postoperative recovery time. Finally, studies looking at epidural efficacy and outcomes are under development.

Chronic Pain

Investigators within the Center for Pain & Wellness at UC Irvine Health have developed new techniques to reduce the amount of pain their patients experience and to improve their quality of life. This includes an array of procedures, investigations on the feasibility, the outcomes of regional techniques, new treatments.

Onabotulinumtoxin A (Botox®) to treat pediatric patients with chronic migraines

Effectiveness of Onabotulinumtoxin A (Botox®) in Pediatric Patients Experiencing Migraines: A Randomized Double Blinded Placebo Crossover Study in the Pediatric Pain Population

Our team of researchers with principal investigator, Shalini Shah, MD, Director of Pain Management, is leading the study on using Onabotulinumtoxin A (Botox®) to treat pediatric patients who are experiencing chronic migraines.

Migraines make up nearly 60 percent of all visits to a pediatric headache specialist. There is a negative impact of experiencing childhood migraines on overall quality of life is similar to pediatric cancer, heart disease and rheumatic disease. As the frequency of migraine attacks increase, so does proportionally the child’s disability in lost school time and family and social interactions.

This is the latest study to be awarded the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA) Chronic Pain Research Grant. "Effectiveness of Onabotulinumtoxin A (Botox®) in Pediatric Patients Experiencing Migraines: A Randomized Double Blinded Placebo Crossover Study in the Pediatric Pain Population” will receive just under $100,000 in project funding with the goal of evaluating the efficacy, safety and resource utilization of the substance for prophylactic use in children ages 8-17. The funding will support the project over a two-year period, and a progress report will be required one year into the work.

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Cannabis Therapy for Chronic Pain Relief

Medical cannabis has been available in California since 1996 and these therapies are only now being subjected to rigorous scientific study. In collaboration with the UC Irvine Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute and the UC Irvine Institute for the Study of Cannabis, physicians in our division of pain medicine are attempting to clarify the role of cannabis as a therapy for chronic pain. The concentration, dosage and route of cannabis administration for use in pain relief has not been well-described and our investigators are trying to determine what, if any, would be the best recommendations for chronic pain patients, particularly patients who are currently opioid-dependent.