Dr. Crock is studying whether the gut microbiome influences development and recovery from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a debilitating condition of unknown etiology that develops following surgery or trauma. Patients with a history of CRPS are difficult in terms of anesthesiology and pain management because they are more likely to redevelop CRPS or have uncontrolled post-operative pain when they undergo surgical procedures.
In Dr. Crock’s pain management clinic, around 50% of patients recover if treated within one year. Those who do not are permanently disabled, requiring extensive treatments including long-term opioids. Interestingly, some patients with CRPS have recovered following antibiotic treatment. Further, mouse models suggest a crucial role of the gut microbiome in the development of pain. With improved understanding of associated triggers and biomarkers, Dr. Crock’s research has the potential to develop innovative non-opioid treatment modalities targeting the microbiome to treat and prevent development of chronic pain.
Congratulations to Dr. Lara Crock!