Some causes and mechanisms of pain after acute and heavy mechanical loads have been elucidated. However, little knowledge exists of how lighter loads may cause pain, such as those typically encountered during office work. Thus, more research is warranted on the origin of musculo-skeletal pain associated with low levels of mechanical exposures, and the mechanisms that maintain such pain.
The aim of this project is to find new explanations for the development of acute and chronic musculo-skeletal pain. Focus will be on processes in the muscles, tendons, and the surrounding tissues during work. The goal is to identify molecules that affect pain signaling in peripheral nerve cells (nociception), and to reveal new forms of communication between the nerve cells and other cells in the surrounding tissue.
Methodologically, test persons will be recruited to carry out relevant work tasks in the lab. Muscle and nerve responses to these exposures will be monitored physiologically and biochemically. Furthermore, possible causal mechanisms will be followed up in cultured neurons and animal models.
Knowledge of causation and the underlying mechanisms is essential for valid preventive actions in the workplace.