Category Archives: Blood Test ‘painHS’

The Colour of Pain

Feature Image sourced from:

Dear Pain Matters blog readers,

Here is some exciting news:

Neuroscientist Professor Mark Hutchinson at The University of Adelaide in Australia recently revealed that a novel blood test can diagnose chronic pain within minutes.


Professor Mark Hutchinson, The University of Adelaide

Called the ‘painHS’ test and available in 18 months, this novel blood test relies on hyperspectral imaging analysis (light measurement tools) to identify certain molecular structures and colour ‘biomarkers’ associated with ongoing pain.  Mark and his team observed that immune cells give off a different natural colour in the presence of chronic pain, compared to in its absence.


Credit: Haridy, 2018

Patients suffering from persistent pain and unable to communicate their level of pain (e.g. babies, dementia patients and severely disabled patients) may be amongst those who will benefit from this blood test.

Quoting Mark,

‘This gives us a brand new window into patients’ pain because we have created a new tool that not only allows for greater certainty of diagnosis but also can guide better drug treatment options.’

‘We are literally quantifying the colour of pain.’

Whilst this blood test will never replace valuable information obtained from pain questionnaires, self-resports and patient discussions, it will likely be a useful adjunct for pain diagnosis and treatment (ANZCA, 2018).

What an exciting development!!

Sabina Walker

Blogger, Pain Matters (in WordPress)


(1) Breakthrough Blood Test Reveals Colour of Chronic Pain. ANZCA (6 May 2018).

(2) Haridy, Rich. Revolutionary New Blood Test Can Instantly Identify Chronic Pain. New Atlas (7 May 2018).

(3) Snook, Julie. Breakthrough blood test reveals chronic pain in colour. 9news (6 May 2018).

(Includes a 2-minute video)

(4) Curing chronic pain – University of Adelaide researchers unravel mysteries of the pain puzzle. Adelaidean – The University of Adelaide (2019).