Spine, Head and Pain Research Unit Ghent

Research populations

The research group includes healthy subjects (with or without experimentally induced pain) and patients. These patient groups experience acute, recurrent or chronic complaints, mostly of musculoskeletal nature occurring mainly at the level of the spine, head or more widespread throughout the body (e.g. back, neck, headache, tinnitus, fibromyalgia, CVS).

Types of research/techniques

The group focuses on underlying peripheral and central mechanisms of these complaints. The possible role of these mechanisms in the predetermination, cause or maintenance of the complaints is studied. Biological, psychological and social components are investigated as well as their interactions.


Types of research

  • Comparative research between patient groups or to healthy individuals;
  • Cross-sectional research which mainly looks at the occurrence of certain characteristics and their interactions within one group;
  • Longitudinal research where it is possible to study the evolution over time of certain characteristics to predict, for example, transition and prognosis.



Self-reporting: biopsychosocial or socioeconomic outcome measures (symptoms, impairments, psychosocial factors)

Performance-based testing: "clinical based assessment" of (sensori)motor skills, activity monitoring

Neurophysiological testing: electromyography, electroencephalography, quantitative sensory testing

Biomechanical testing: three-dimensional motion analysis

Medical imaging: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of muscles and brain


The effects of various interventions are investigated for the prevention and treatment of acute, recurrent and chronic complaints in a fundamental, translational or clinical way.

The effects of exercise therapy, manual therapy, (ergonomic) advice, pain education, lifestyle management (e.g. sleep, physical activity) and multidisciplinary therapy are investigated.


Tenured Academic Staff and Visiting Professors

Prof. dr. Barbara Cagnie

Prof. dr. Lieven Danneels

Prof. dr. Robby De Pauw

Prof. dr. Thomas Matheve

Prof. dr. Jessica Van Oosterwijck

Prof. dr. Tine Willems

Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr. Jente Bontinck

Dr. Kayleigh De Meulemeester

Dr. Vincent Dewitte

Dr. Matthijs Moerkerke

Predoctoral Researchers

Drs. Lisa Bernaers

Drs. Amber Billens

Drs. Michiel Brandt

Drs. Marjolein Chys

Drs. Elise Cnockaert

Drs. Robrecht De Baere

Drs. Indra De Greef

Drs. Maxim De Sloovere

Drs. Laura Int Panis

Drs. Hannes Meirezonne

Drs. Sophie Van Oosterwijck

Drs. Joren Vyverman

Drs. Jaap Wijnen