Decipher mechanisms and improve the treatment of chronic pain through large-scale genetic analysis: DecipherPain

DecipherPain is a research project where we use recent technological advances in genetics to increase the understanding what causes chronic pain conditions, and to search for better treatment. We focus on four pain conditions: Chronic low back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic widespread pain and migraine.

The project is led by the Department of Research, Innovation and Education at the Division of Clinical Neuroscience, Oslo University Hospital, in collaboration with research grups int ohter countries. 

Chronic pain disorders are the main causes of disability in the world, but we lack a good understanding of their biological basis. This means we cannot answer several basic questions, for example whether chronic back pain is normally caused by local problems in muscles‚ joints or nerves, by inflammation (the immune system) or by erraneous processing in the brain. We also lack effective treatments for chronic pain. 

New technology, improved understanding of genetics, and the accumulation of molecular data have transformed biological research. Our group has been involved in conducting several large genetic studies, and we will apply these advances to chronic pain. 


  • Perform genome-wide association studies of chronic pain conditions, to identify genetic causes
  • Screen drugs and molecules for their potential effect in the treatment of chronic pain, using genetic data
  • Identify the most important tissues involved in causing chronic pain
  • Examine shared genetics between chronic pain disorders and other traits
  • Study the involvement of mitochondrial DNA in chronic pain conditions
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