Working Group Chronic Pain

The main interests of the working group Chronic Pain are the symptoms, quality of life and interdisciplinary care of chronic pain.



  • Dr. Kay Udo Schwarzer (Head)
  • Dr. Susanne Nitschke
  • Friederike Schönfelder
  • Elena Surmeli
  • Katharina Kalus


Providing care to patients with chronic pain conditions is our mission.
The Pain Centre is historically one of the very first of its kind in the Eastern part of the Federal Republic of Germany. The interdisciplinary multimodal approach towards patients with a wide variety of chronic pain conditions such as chronic neuropathic, nociplastic, arthrogenic, osteogenic, visceral and myofascial pain has been under continuous development since 1994.

Our approach to patients follows the concept of shared decision making, educating patients and trying to support them in such a way that they become experts on their particular pain condition. This enables them to take a much more active and competent role in dealing with their pain. Our multimodal team consists of specialized nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, musical therapists, specialized psychotherapists, social workers, a pastor and doctors of various specialties (neurology, anaesthesiology, neurosurgery, surgery). Our team provides individualized treatment and a long-term strategy for each patient – taking into account the patient‘s individual resources.

The central goal of our research is to improve the quality of our clinical care. Our hypothesis is that our particular, individualized multimodal approach has a more lasting, positive effect on the course of complex pain conditions than an approach focussing mainly either on somatic (e.g. orthopaedic) or pharmacologic (e.g. anaesthesiologic) or psychosomatic/psychotherapeutic interventions.
To investigate this hypothesis we work door to door with the Health Services Research Centre of the Brandenburg Medical School “Theodor Fontane“.

One particular research subject is the effect of the withdrawal of opioids that have become problematic in terms of dose, period of use, or side effects. In our Pain Centre we follow an individualized long-term strategy: if patients have been using rather small doses of opioids or using opioids for a rather short period of time, the aim is to bring patients back to a non-opioid life. If patients have been using higher doses of opioids or using opioids for a long time we substitute buprenorphine or tramadol for a period of several months after which buprenorphine or tramadol is tapered and finally stopped. The third approach relates to patients with either severe morphologic/structural pathologies and/or severe psychosocial stressors. Here we keep patients - for the sake of stability – on long term buprenorphine or tramadol in as low a dose as possible. As there has never been a conclusive study of this kind of pain treatment, we are now investigating this individualized approach.


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