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photo of Robert S. Griffin, MD, PhD

Robert S. Griffin, MD, PhD

Anesthesiology, Pain Management, Spine

About Dr. Griffin


Dr. Robert Griffin specializes in evaluating and treating low back pain, sciatica, disc herniation, neck pain, cervical radicular pain, as well as other musculoskeletal, sports injury, and spine-related conditions with non-surgical management approaches.   He sees patients at Hudson Yards as well as at the HSS-75th Street campus.

Dr. Griffin earned his MD and PhD from Harvard Medical School. He received the prestigious Medical Scientist Training Program award from the National Institutes of Health and Harvard Medical School. He conducted his doctoral research in neuroscience at Harvard on the genetic mechanisms of pain sensitization. Dr. Griffin has published the results of his research on pain in leading scientific and biomedical journals, including Nature Medicine, Cell, the Journal of Neuroscience, and Brain.

Dr. Griffin completed his postgraduate medical training at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, including an internship in internal medicine, residency in anesthesiology, and fellowship in pain medicine. He is board certified in anesthesiology and in pain medicine.  He was recognized as a Research Resident Scholar by the Foundation for Anesthesia Research and received the Partners in Excellence Award for his excellent care of patients.


Special Expertise

Degenerative disc disease and disc herniation
Lumbar and cervical radiculopathy
Spinal stenosis
Other types of low back pain and neck pain
Chronic pain after surgery
Nerve injury related pain


Diagnostic and therapeutic spinal injections
Epidural steroid injections
Facet injections
Radiofrequency ablation
Percutaneous spinal cord stimulator placement

Patient Stories


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Please call our office if you have questions regarding your insurance coverage. If you have out-of-network benefits, then your insurance may reimburse you for a portion of your office visit. We will work with you and your insurance to minimize your out-of-pocket costs. Financial assistance may be available for patients in need.



Director, Ambulatory Pain Medicine Program, Hospital for Special Surgery
Assistant Attending Anesthesiologist, Hospital for Special Surgery
Clinical Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, Weill Cornell Medical College


American Society of Anesthesiologists


Board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


Superdoctors New York Rising Stars 2013, 2014, 2016
Hospital for Special Surgery Teacher of the Year, Weill Cornell/Memorial Sloan Kettering/HSS Tri-Institutional Pain Medicine Fellowship, 2014-2015, 2015-2016
Phi Beta Kappa
Sigma Xi
Medical Scientist Training Program grant by Harvard Medical School/ NIH
Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research Resident Scholar    


Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 2007


Internal Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, 2008


Anesthesiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, 2011


Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, 2012

State Licensure



For My Patients

Publications by Dr. Griffin

Patient Education

Selected Books/Chapters

Griffin RS, Brenner GJ (2012) Chronic Postsurgical Pain.  In Mashour and Avidan, Eds., Neurologic Complications of Surgery. New York: Oxford University Press. Manuscript in press.

Griffin RS, Fink E, Brenner GJ (2009) Functional Anatomy of the Nociceptive System. In Fishman SM, Ballantyne JC, Rathmell JP, Eds., Bonica’s Management of Pain, 4th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott.

Griffin RS, Woolf CJ (2007) Chapter 15: Pharmacology of Analgesia.  In Golan DE et al., Eds, Principles of Pharmacology: The Pathophysiologic Basis of Drug Therapy, 2nd Ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott.

Costigan M, Griffin RS, Woolf CJ (2004) Microarray analysis of the pain pathway. In Mogil J, Ed., The Genetics of Pain. Seattle: IASP Press.

Selected Journal Articles

Griffin RS, Antoniak M, Mac PD, Kramskiy V, Waldman S and Mimno D (2020) Imagined Examples of Painful Experiences Provided by Chronic Low Back Pain Patients and Attributed a Pain Numerical Rating Score. Front. Neurosci. 13:1331. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2019.01331

Costigan M*, Belfer I*, Griffin RS*, Barrett LB, Coppola G, Wu T, Kiselycznk C, Poddar M, Lu Y, Diatchenko L, Smith S, Cobos EJ, Zaykin D, Allchorne A, Shen PH,  Nikolajsen L, Karppinen J, Mannikko M, Kelempisoti A, Goldman D, Maixner W, Geschwind DH, Max MB, Seltzer Z, Woolf CJ (2010) Multiple chronic pain states are associated with a common amino acid changing allele in KCNS1. Brain 133(9) 2519-2527.
* Denotes equal contribution

Scholz J, Mannion RJ, Hord DE, Griffin RS, Rawal B, Zheng H, Scoffings D, Phillips A, Guo J, Laing RJ, Abdi S, Decosterd I, Woolf CJ (2009) A novel tool for the assessment of pain: validation in low back pain. PLos Med 6(4): e1000047.

Griffin RS, Costigan M, Brenner GJ, Ma CH, Scholz J, Moss A, Allchorne AJ, Stahl GL, Woolf CJ (2007) Complement induction in spinal cord microglia results in anaphylatoxin C5a-mediated pain hypersensitivity. J. Neurosci 27: 8699-8708.

Mills CD, Allchorne AJ, Griffin RS, Woolf CJ, Costigan M (2007) GDNF selectively promotes regeneration of injury-primed sensory neurons in the lesioned spinal cord. Mol Cell Neurosci 36: 185-194

Tegeder I, Costigan M, Griffin RS, Abele A, Belfer I, Schmidt H, Ehnert C, Nejm J, Marian C, Scholz J, Wu T, Allchorne A, Diatchenko L, Bihnstok AM, Goldman D, Adolph J, Sama S, Atlas SJ, Carlezon WA, Parsegian A, Lotsch J, Fillingim RB, Maixner W, Geisslinger G, Max MB, Woolf CJ. (2006) GTP cyclohydrolase and tetrahydrobiopterin regulate pain sensitivity and persistence. Nature Medicine 12: 1269-1277.

Griffin RS (2005) An Epac-dependent pain pathway. J Neurosci. 25: 8113-8114.

Griffin RS, Mills CD, Costigan M, Woolf CJ (2003) Exploiting microarrays to reveal differential gene expression in the nervous system. Genome Biol. 4: 105.

Costigan M, Befort K, Karchewski L, Griffin RS, D’Urso D, Allchorne A, Sitarski J, Mannion JW, Pratt RE, Woolf CJ (2002) Replicate high-density oligonucleotide microarrays reveal hundreds of regulated genes in the dorsal root ganglion after peripheral nerve injury. BMC Neurosci. 3: 16

For more publications, please see the PubMed listing.

Selected Presentations

Phantom Limb Pain, Massachusetts General Hospital Interventional Spine Lecture Series, 2012.

Griffin RS, Costigan M, Allchorne AJ, D'Urso D, Woolf CJ, (2003) A bioinformatic analysis of temporal expression profiles in partial nerve injury models of neuropathic pain. Society for Neuroscience Poster Presentation.


Research Interests

Pain mechanisms

Industry Relationships

Industry Relationships

One of the goals of HSS is to advance the science of orthopedic surgery, rheumatology, and related disciplines for the benefit of patients. Physicians at HSS may collaborate with outside companies for education, research and medical advances. HSS supports this collaboration in order to foster medical breakthroughs; however HSS also believes that these collaborations must be disclosed.

As part of the disclosure process, this website lists physician collaborations with outside companies. The disclosures are provided by information provided by the physician and other sources and are updated regularly. Further information may be available on individual company websites.

As of March 01, 2023, Dr. Griffin reported no relationships with healthcare industry.

By disclosing the collaborations of HSS physicians with industry on this website, HSS and its physicians make this information available to their patients and the public, thus creating a transparent environment for those who are interested in this information. Further, the HSS Conflicts of Interest Policy does not permit physicians to collect royalties on products developed by him/her that are used on patients at HSS.

Dr. Griffin in the News