About the Study

The Stanford Center for Back Pain is a nationally-funded center studying evidence-based, non-drug treatments for chronic low back pain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, and Acupuncture.   

Our research team includes experts in the field of Pain Medicine, Neuroscience, Psychology, Behavioral Sciences, and Psychiatry. We are working together with a common mission to better understand how different therapies work for the individual suffering with chronic low back pain. It is our hope that our research will have a large impact on treatments for chronic low back pain in the future. Understanding mechanisms (how the treatment works and for whom), provides us with a unique opportunity to begin personalizing treatments to the individual suffering with chronic low back pain.

Principal Investigators: Sean Mackey, MD, PhD,  James Gross, PhDRachel Manber, PhD

Sponsor: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

Study procedures are AT NO COST and you may be compensated for participation.

Looking For

Seeking individuals to participate in a study exploring back pain. The study will take place at the Lucas Center for Imaging at Stanford and will require a single visit up to 3 hours. The study is comprised of a MRI scan and surveys. MRI is safe, non-invasive, and does not use x-rays or radiation. Participants may be compensated $150 and receive an image of their brain.

Participants must:

  • Be between 21-65 years old 
  • Either (a) Have chronic lower back pain and currently taking opioids or (b) no chronic pain and no opioid use 
  • Have no metallic implants or piercings they cannot remove 
  • Not be claustrophobic 
  • Not be pregnant 

If you are eligible, a lab representative will contact you with more details. If you know of any healthy individuals that may be interested in the study or those who suffer from chronic lower back pain and are currently taking opioids, please feel free to refer them to this web page and survey. We greatly appreciate any referrals!


Questions about the study? Call (650) 721-4016 or email twinslow@stanford.edu

Participant's right questions, contact 1-866-680-2906.