Nicholas Vasilis Karayannis, MPT, PhD

  • Board certified in Orthopaedics
  • Fellowship Trained in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy
  • Fellowship Trained in Interdisciplinary Pain Research

Educational Background

Dr. Nicholas Karayannis (Pronounced KA-ruh-YAH-nees) is a physiotherapist and clinical scientist within the Division of Pain Medicine. Nicholas completed his Postdoctoral Fellowship within the Systems Neuroscience and Pain Laboratory at Stanford in 2017. Before receiving his PhD degree in Physiotherapy from The University of Queensland (Australia) in 2013, he trained as a fellow in orthopaedic manual therapy in the USA and Canada (North American Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy). Nicholas graduated with a Master’s in Physical Therapy degree in 2000 from Ohio University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences in 1995 from the same institution.

Dr. Karayannis is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists, board certified as an Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist, a Certified Yoga and Tai Chi Teacher, Leader in the Stanford Chronic Pain Self-Management Program, and a qualified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher through the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society.

Specialties and Interests

Dr. Karayannis has practiced within the outpatient orthopaedic physical therapy setting for over 19 years. Nicholas’s primary role at the Stanford Pain Management Center is to collaborate with the interdisciplinary team of physicians, psychologists and nurses to formulate and implement comprehensive treatment plans for our patients, and provide people living with persistent pain with evidence-based education and practice tools to assist with improving their movement quality and confidence, restoring physical function, enhancing self-care, and reducing pain-related suffering.

Dr. Karayannis is currently pursuing research that aims to elucidate the sensorimotor and psychological mechanisms of two mind-body interventions (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Tai Chi) for people with chronic low back pain (Project Embrace). Collectively, his work follows a threefold path: developing a better awareness of how posture, movement, and physical function adapts to a persistent pain state; making wiser decisions in choosing a targeted treatment approach; and in further refining mind-body interventions. Fundamentally, Nicholas is interested in helping his patients to cultivate greater mindfulness, strength, and resiliency of the whole person.

Personal Background

Nicholas loves contemplating in nature and playing sports such as hiking and backpacking, fly-fishing, Nordic skiing, road cycling, squash, and swimming. Nick also enjoys other relaxing pursuits like yoga and Tai Chi, traveling abroad, reading fiction, watching independent films, listening to jazz, meditating, gardening and cooking, and riding his vintage motorcycle. He was born and raised in Ohio within a Greek-immigrant family, and has lived in South Africa, the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Mountain West, and Australia before he located to the Bay Area.