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Professor Mark Johnson

About Professor Mark Johnson

Professor Mark Johnson PhD, is Professor of Pain and Analgesia and Director of the Centre for Pain Research in our School of Clinical and Applied Sciences. Mark has been investigating the science of pain and its management since the mid 1980’s. Mark originally trained as a neurophysiologist at the University of Leeds, U.K. and studied for a PhD in Pain Science at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K. Mark has published over 200 research articles and book chapters, and is considered a world expert on transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. His recent book "Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). Research to support clinical practice" was shortlisted at the British Medical Association Book Awards 2015. Mark is a longstanding member of the International Association for the Study of Pain and the Pain Society of Great Britain and Ireland and is an Expert Consultant for the Committee of Advertising Practice. Mark has a strong commitment to pain education and he is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Mark has supervised 15 PhD completions, 2 MRes completions and is currently supervising 13 PhD students. He has examined 18 PhDs and regularly acts as an Independent Chair for PhD examinations.

Mark leads a vibrant team of investigators working in the Centre for Pain Research. They conduct a wide variety of programmes of research including: Factors influencing pain sensitivity response (e.g. gender, lifespan, ethnocultural, obesity); Factors influencing response to electrophysical interventions (TENS, acupuncture, laser therapy, kinesiology taping); Visual feedback, perceptual embodiment and pain; Epidemiology of injury and pain; Patient experience of pain; and Pain education. Mark’s team conduct clinical trials (phase 1-3), laboratory studies on healthy humans using experimental models of pain, and evidence syntheses (e.g. meta-analyses including Cochrane reviews). The Centre for Pain Research at Leeds Beckett showcase their research at public engagement events including the Royal Society Summer Exhibition and Asia Techfest.

Mark has also undertaken a wide variety of senior management and leadership roles within our University.

Current Teaching

Mark has taught across all levels of our provision on a wide variety of courses including HNC, HND, PGCert, PGDip, BSc and MSc Physiotherapy, Sports Therapy, Sports Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, Nursing, Clinical Language Sciences, Dietetics, and Human Nutrition. His subject specialisms are Pain Science, Pain Management, Physiology, Neurophysiology, Neuropsychology, Neuropharmacology, Research Methods, and Research Leadership.

Research Interests

Mark has conducted research on the science of pain and its management for over 30 years. Mark's research is broad and is focussed on the following themes:

  1. Factors influencing variability in pain perception between individuals such as gender, age ethnicity, culture, and obesity.
  2. Factors influencing response to pain relieving treatments including TENS, acupuncture, laser therapy, drug medication. Recently his team has focussed on the role of kinesiology taping to manage symptoms related to cancer and on the role of visual feedback techniques such as mirrors and virtual reality on perceptual embodiment and pain.
  3. The epidemiology of pain and injury
  4. Pain education for patients and for health care professionals

Selected Publications

Journal articles (18)

  • Johnson MI (2017), Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) as an adjunct for pain management in perioperative settings: a critical review. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, vol. 17 (10), p. 1013-1027.
  • Coates J; Gething F; Johnson MI (2017), Shared medical appointments for managing pain in primary care settings?. Pain management, vol. 7 (4), p. 223-227.
  • Wittkopf PG; Lloyd DM; Johnson MI (2017), Changing the size of a mirror-reflected hand moderates the experience of embodiment but not proprioceptive drift: a repeated measures study on healthy human participants. Experimental Brain Research, vol. 235 (6), p. 1933-1944.
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  • Tashani OA; Astita R; Sharp D; Johnson MI (2017), Body mass index and distribution of body fat can influence sensory detection and pain sensitivity. European Journal of Pain (United Kingdom)
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  • Johnson M; Jones G (2017), Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): Current status of evidence. Pain Management
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  • Paley CA; Johnson MI (2016), Physical activity to reduce systemic inflammation associated with chronic pain and obesity a narrative review. Clinical Journal of Pain, vol. 32 (4), p. 365-370.
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  • Paley CA; Johnson MI; Tashani OA; Bagnall A (2015), Acupuncture for cancer pain in adults. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews
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  • Johnson MI; Mulvey MR; Bagnall A (2015), Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for phantom pain and stump pain following amputation in adults. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews(8)
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  • Johnson MI; Paley CA; Howe TA; Sluka KA (2015), Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for acute pain: A review. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews(6)
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  • Leal-Junior ECP; de Almeida P; Tomazoni SS; de Tarso Camillo de Carvalho P; Lopes-Martins RAB; Frigo L; Joensen J; Johnson MI; Bjordal JM (2014), Superpulsed Low-Level Laser Therapy Protects Skeletal Muscle of mdx Mice against Damage, Inflammation and Morphological Changes Delaying Dystrophy Progression. PLoS One
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  • Jones G; Thompson K; Johnson M (2013), Acute compartment syndrome after minor trauma in a patient with undiagnosed mild haemophilia B. Lancet, vol. 382 (16), p. 1678-1678.
  • Konopinski MD; Jones GJ; Johnson MI (2012), The effect of hypermobility on the incidence of injuries in elite-level professional soccer players: A cohort study. American Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 40 (4), p. 763-769.
  • Alabas OA; Tashani OA; Johnson MI (2012), Gender role expectations of pain mediate sex differences in cold pain responses in healthy Libyans. European journal of pain (London, England), vol. 16 (2), p. 300-311.
  • Alabas OA; Tashani OA; Johnson MI (2011), Gender role expectations of pain mediate sex differences in cold pain responses in healthy Libyans.. European journal of pain (London, England)
  • Bennett MI; Hughes N; Johnson MI (2011), Methodological quality in randomised controlled trials of transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation for pain: Low fidelity may explain negative findings. Pain, vol. 152 (6), p. 1226-1232.
  • JOHNSON MI; BJORDAL JM (2011), Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation for the management of painful conditions: focus on neuropathic pain.. , vol. 11 (5), p. 735-753.
  • Chow RT; Johnson MI; Lopes-Martins RA; Bjordal JM (2009), Efficacy of low-level laser therapy in the management of neck pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo or active-treatment controlled trials. The Lancet, vol. 374 (9705), p. 1897-1908.
  • BJORDAL J; LOPES-MARTIN R; JOENSEN J; LJUNGGREN A; COUPPE C; STERIGIOULAS A; JOHNSON M (2008), A systematic review with procedural assessments and meta-analysis of Low Level Laser Therapy in lateral elbow tendinopathy (tennis elbow). , vol. 9 (75)
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Books (1)

  • Johnson MI (2014) Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). Research to support clinical practice. . Oxford University Press.
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