Professor Candy McCabe

About me

Prof. Candy McCabe trained as a nurse at St. Thomas’ Hospital, London and after working in a variety of specialties including ward based and research work she moved to the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD), Bath in the mid- 90’s. In April 2015 the RNHRD was incorporated into the Royal United Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Bath.

Candy's research​​ and clinical interests directly relate to increasing our understanding of the mechanisms and potential therapies for those with chronic unexplained pain, particularly that of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and other neuropathic pain conditions. She leads a multi-disciplinary Clinical Research team that provides national services for those with CRPS and for those suffering with late effects from radiotherapy following treatment for breast cancer.

She was awarded an NIHR Career Development Fellowship in 2009 to pursue this research whilst retaining her part-time clinical practice as a Consultant Nurse, and moved to the University of the West of England in April 2010 to take up a Chair in Nursing and Pain Sciences. 

In January 2015 she was awarded a Florence Nightingale Foundation Chair in Clinical Nursing Practice Research which is a collaborative post between the Florence Nightingale Foundation, UWE and the Royal United Hospitals, Bath to promote all aspects of nursing leadership and excellence.

Research outputs include over fifty peer-reviewed papers on pain and musculoskeletal conditions, multiple book chapters, conference abstracts and she regularly presents at national and international meetings. Candy is a member of a number of national committees in the specialties of rheumatology and pain, is Chair of the International Association for the Study of Pain Special Interest Group for CRPS, and a past member of the British Pain Society Scientific Committee. She is a past president of the British Health Professionals in Rheumatology.


Area of expertise

My research and clinical interests are integrally related to each other. They are focused on improving our understanding of the mechanisms that trigger and drive chronic pain so as to inform the development of therapeutic interventions to relieve or prevent pain. I lead and work within an interdisciplinary team of academics and healthcare professionals and our research is predominantly funded via the NIHR. Our research spans from discovery, using detailed clinical observational studies, through to implementation of new techniques and devices. We have produced new evidence on why pain may continue post-trauma, how individuals’ symptoms vary and change over time, the psychosocial impact of pain on patients and their carers, potential target areas for future treatments and how new therapies can relieve pain. This research has directly informed national and international clinical practice, national guidelines (Royal College of Physicians CRPS UK Guidelines and national patient self-management literature (“Living with long-term pain, a self-management guide”. Arthritis Research UK.

 The central core of my research is focused on the relationship between the sensory and motor systems and pain; how these systems are modified by pain; what part they may play in the development and perpetuation of pain; and how they can be modified to relieve pain. The primary condition model used to explore this research is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome but other condition specific research cohorts include Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Stroke, Peripheral Diabetic Neuropathy and post-radiotherapy late effects. The commonality across these groups is the chronic disruption of pain on daily function and the potential for patients to gain from multi-disciplinary pain management strategies and physical rehabilitation. My publications have proposed that conflict between central sensory-motor processing is a possible cause of pain in the absence of injury or when pain is disproportionate to injury, thereby identifying potential target areas for therapeutic intervention. 

My Publications