Robert R. Edwards, Ph.D.

Dr. Edwards is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Pain Management Center at Brigham & Women’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School. He attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham, completing a Ph.D. in Medical Psychology and a Master’s in Public Health. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Pain Psychology at Johns Hopkins, before joining the faculty in Psychiatry there. He moved to Brigham & Women’s Hospital in 2008. Dr. Edwards functions in a clinical capacity as a psychologist at the BWH Pain Management Center, where his responsibilities include assessment and treatment of chronic pain patients referred to the Pain Center. He screens for candidacy for opioid therapy and implantable devices and offers behavioral medicine services such as biofeedback for pain management. He mentors junior faculty members in several Departments and institutions, he has published numerous scientific articles, reviews, and book chapters on pain, and he serves on the editorial boards of several pain and psychology journals. Dr. Edwards’ research focuses on biobehavioral aspects of acute and chronic pain. Specifically, he studies individual differences in pain responses, and the neurobiological mechanisms by which psychosocial processes shape those individual differences. Some of his current NIH-funded work focuses on the impact of pain-related catastrophizing on neuroendocrine and inflammatory responses to pain, as well as individual differences in central nervous system pain processing, and their implications for long-term pain-related outcomes. He is involved in several studies that use functional neuroimaging techniques to assess the neurobiology of pain-related thoughts and emotions. In addition, his research group is working in the area of predicting and preventing misuse of opioids by patients with persistent pain.


Posts by Robert R. Edwards, Ph.D.

Is there a “best” pain reliever for osteoarthritis?

Robert R. Edwards, Ph.D.
Robert R. Edwards, Ph.D., Contributing Editor

Osteoarthritis can contribute significantly to a reduced quality of life, and many arthritis sufferers have come to rely on pain medication for symptom control. A recent study compared NSAIDs against opioids for pain relief and found no significant difference between them. But as always, the right treatment choice for any individual person depends on their unique medical situation and what works best for them.

The “right” goal when managing pain

Robert R. Edwards, Ph.D.
Robert R. Edwards, Ph.D., Contributing Editor

When it comes to pain management, focusing only on reducing the intensity of pain may lead to treatments that do as much harm as good. Ideally, pain-management plans should be tailored to each patient and include a range of therapies that not only reduce pain but also help improve pain-related quality-of-life problems.