The purpose of the Stanford Center for Back Pain is to investigate and characterize the
mechanisms of four treatments for chronic low back pain. These interventions (research
treatment) include real-time fMRI neurofeedback, mindfulness based stress reduction,
cognitive behavioral therapy, and acupuncture treatment. The investigators plan to
characterize both mechanisms of treatment effects and efficacy.
The Stanford Center for Back Pain establishes a collaborative, multidisciplinary research
program to investigate CAM interventions for the treatment of chronic low back pain (CLBP).
The investigators' overall goal is to characterize the shared and distinct mechanisms of
four CAM interventions and translate the investigators' findings to tailored and effective
treatments for CLBP. CLBP is a highly prevalent and difficult-to-treat condition for which
many patients seek CAM therapies. Basic science has revealed that abnormalities in central
pain modulatory and emotion regulatory systems play a crucial role in CLBP. What is not
clear is how CAM therapies alter the functioning of the brain systems involved in chronic
pain. The Stanford Center for Back Pain aims to fill this gap by conducting 3 projects, each
aiming at elucidating mechanisms underlying different CAM therapies for CLBP.
Project 1 will focus on a promising novel alternative therapy for CLBP real-time fMRI
neurofeedback which trains patients to control specific neural processes that lead to
improvements in pain. Project 2 will characterize the pain modulatory and emotion regulatory
effects of mindfulness based stress reduction and cognitive behavioral therapy for CLBP.
Project 3 will characterize psychophysical and neuroimaging based neural mechanisms
underlying verum and placebo acupuncture.
The Stanford Center for Back Pain will provide optimal collaboration and synergy within a
multidisciplinary framework to identify mechanisms of CAM therapies for CLBP so that they
can eventually translate them into enhance clinical care of CLBP.
- English Fluency
- Chronic Low Back Pain as defined by NIH task-force or Healthy Controls
- MRI contraindications
- Pregnant or planning to become pregnant
- Medical conditions that would interfere with study procedures, at the discretion of
the study team
- Neurologic disorder, history of seizures, stroke, or brain abnormalities, which would
interfere with brain integrity, at the discretion of the study team.
- Mental health conditions or treatment for mental health problems that would interfere
with study procedures, at the discretion of the study team.
- Other project specific criteria may apply.