Pain and Motor System Plasticity

Pain and Motor System Plasticity

Head of RIG: Thomas Graven-Nielsen, Professor (TGN)


The scope of this RIG is to investigate fundamentals of the pain system and interactions with the motor system. Translational concepts are important for the activities in this RIG.

Research Area

The research area is multidisciplinary, based on a translational strategy from basic experimental knowledge (modulation inhibition/facilitation), through clinical models (e.g. osteoarthritis, myofascial pain, work-related myalgia) to clinical screening (drug screening) and treatment.


  • Models of pain (skin, visceral, musculoskeletal)
  • Hyperalgesia models
  • Summation models (e.g. temporal, spatial, long-term depression/facilitation)
  • Deep-tissue hyperalgesia/trigger points
  • Referred pain
  • Descending control systems (e.g. inhibitory and facilitatory)
  • Effect of pain and fatigue on motor control (e.g. single motor units, reflexes, motor variability) and biomechanics (e.g. postural motor responses, knee joint stability during pain)

Methods and Instrumentation

  • Technologies for pain induction (e.g. chemical, mechanical, electrical, exercise)
  • Quantitative protocols and technologies for sensory assessment
  • Neurophysiological assessments
  • Electrophysiological assessments
  • Computational modeling (e.g. tissue characteristics, biomechanics)


  • Detailed information on pain mechanisms is required to develop more rational treatment and prevention procedures
  • Drug efficacy screening – particularly early in the drug developing phase.

Teaching and Training

Ensure that "Pain" is represented at relevant teaching programs within HST Programs

  • Biomedical Engineering and Informatics, bachelor and master (specialization in medical systems)
  • Master of Science in Medicine with Industrial Specialization
  • Bachelor in Sports Science
  • Clinical science and technology
  • Doctoral school
  • Post-doc


Pain, motor control, translational neuroscience.


Strategy towards quantitative sensory testing methods / protocols / biomarkers.


Frequent meetings (journal club, strategies, research status, collaboration, funding, student presentations, facilities, conference planning etc.)