Steven Paul Cohen, M.D.

Headshot of Steven Paul Cohen
  • Director of Medical Education - Pain Medicine Division
  • Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine


Chronic Pain, Interventional Pain Management, Pain Management, Pain Medicine more

Research Interests

Neuropathic pain; Fibromyalgia

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Outside of Maryland & Washington D.C.

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International Patients

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Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center (now called Levi Watkins, Jr., M.D., Outpatient Center)

Appointment Phone: 410-955-7246
601 N. Caroline St.
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Phone: 410-955-7246

The Johns Hopkins Hospital (Main Entrance)

Appointment Phone: 410-955-7246
1800 Orleans St.
Sheikh Zayed Tower
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Phone: 410-955-7246


Dr. Steven P. Cohen obtained his medical degree at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, completed an anesthesiology residency at Columbia University, and a pain management fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. Currently, he is Professor of Anesthesiology & Critical Care Medicine, as well as Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He is also Director of the Blaustein Pain Treatment Center, Medical Education and Quality Assurance for the Pain Management Division at Johns Hopkins, and Director of Pain Research at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Dr. Cohen has been very active in teaching and pain research in recent years, having published over 250 peer-reviewed articles, reviews and book chapters in the past 15 years. Among his major contributions are the development of an FDA-approved technique for treating sacroiliac joint pain (lateral branch radiofrequency denervation), inventing the intravenous ketamine test to help guide treatment in patients with chronic pain, and performing the first studies evaluating the epidural administration of biological agents for pain. These articles have been featured in some of the top general medical journals including “Lancet”, “CMAJ”, “BMJ”, “Annals of Internal Medicine” and “JAMA-Internal Medicine”. His research has been the subject of articles in the Science Section of the New York Times on 4 separate occasions. He has been the first author on the “Pain” chapter in the last 2 editions of “Cecil Textbook of Medicine”, and was listed in 2014 as one of the top 10 experts in the world for back pain based on quantitative analysis of publications. 

In addition to his academic work, Dr. Cohen is a retired Colonel in the U.S. Army, and was deployed 4 times in support of operations in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. He also serves as the Reserve Liaison to the Pain Management Consultants to the U.S. Army and Navy Surgeons General. Dr. Cohen has previously presented data on pain management in service members to the U.S. Congress, FDA and General Officers. His research was instrumental in the passage of the 2008 Military Pain Care Act, and he served as an inaugural member of the U.S. Army Medical Advisory Board. His previous awards include the American Society of Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine John J. Bonica Award, ASIPP Public Service Award, Donlin M. Long Pain Award, Michael J. Cousins Award Lecture, American Academy of Pain Medicine Founder’s Award, the Order of Military Medical Merit, and the Legion of Merit. more


  • Director of Medical Education - Pain Medicine Division
  • Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine
  • Joint Appointment in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
  • Professor of Neurology
  • Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • MD; Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (1989)


  • Anesthesiology; The Presbyterian Hospital in the City of New York (1993)


  • Pain Medicine; Massachusetts General Hospital (2000)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Anesthesiology (Anesthesiology) (1994)
  • American Board of Anesthesiology (Pain Management) (2012)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Cohen’s research focuses on pain, including neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia. Many of his studies examine the causes and treatment of injuries among U.S. soldiers.

Selected Publications

Cohen SP, Atanelov L, Rammasubu C, Amasha R, Kurihara C, Verdun A, Duarte SS, Stambaugh T. “Can changes in vital signs be used to predict the response to lumbar facet blocks and radiofrequency denervation? A prospective, correlational study.” Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2014 Jul-Aug;39(4):333-40. doi: 10.1097/AAP.0000000000000105.

Hsu E, Atanelov L, Plunkett AR, Chai N, Chen Y, Cohen SP. “Epidural lysis of adhesions for failed back surgery and spinal stenosis: factors associated with treatment outcome.” Anesth Analg. 2014 Jan;118(1):215-24. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000000042.

Rauck RL, Cohen SP, Gilmore CA, North JM, Kapural L, Zang RH, Grill JH, Boggs JW. “Treatment of post-amputation pain with peripheral nerve stimulation.” Neuromodulation. 2014 Feb;17(2):188-97. doi: 10.1111/ner.12102. Epub 2013 Aug 15.

Cohen SP, Hameed H, Kurihara C, Pasquina PF, Patel AM, Babade M, Griffith SR, Erdek ME, Jamison DE, Hurley RW. “The effect of sedation on the accuracy and treatment outcomes for diagnostic injections: a randomized, controlled, crossover study.” Pain Med. 2014 Apr;15(4):588-602. doi: 10.1111/pme.12389. Epub 2014 Feb 13.

Kroll CE, Schartz B, Gonzalez-Fernandez M, Gordon AH, Babade M, Erdek MA, Mekhail N, Cohen SP. “Factors associated with outcome after superior hypogastric plexus neurolysis in cancer patients.” Clin J Pain. 2014 Jan;30(1):55-62. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e3182869d68.

Contact for Research Inquiries

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
550 North Broadway, Suite 301
Baltimore, MD 21205 map
Phone: 410-955-1818
Fax: 410-614-7597

Activities & Honors


  • John J. Bonica Award, American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA, 2014
  • Founder’s Award, American Academy of Pain Medicine, 2014
  • Faculty-Mentor Award, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2014
  • Best Doctors, Baltimore Magazine, 2011 - 2012
  • Teacher of the Year, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2010
  • Letter of Recognition, U.S. Army Surgeon General, 2010
  • Order of Military Medical Merit, 2010
  • Lifetime Public Service Award, American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, 2009
  • Army Achievement Medal, 2008
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, 2003
  • Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device, 2003 - 2007
  • Meritorious Service Medal, 1999
  • Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, 1995 - 1996
  • Overseas Service Ribbon with Oak Leaf Cluster, 1994 - 1999
  • Army Service Ribbon, 1993
  • National Defense Service Medal, 1991


  • 38th Parallel Medical Society, 1993 - 1999
  • American Academy of Pain Medicine
  • American Pain Society, 2001
  • American Society of Anesthesiologists, 1998
  • American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, 2006
  • American Society of Regional Anesthesia, 2004
  • Association of University Anesthesiologists, 2007
  • International Spinal Intervention Society, 2007
  • Maryland State Society of Anesthesiologist, 2005
  • New York Academy of Sciences, 1999 - 2002
  • New York State Society of Anesthesiologists, 1998 - 2003

Professional Activities

  • Associate Editor, Journal of Anesthesia & Clinical Research, 2010
  • Associate Editor, Local and Regional Anesthesia & Analgesia, 2008
  • Associate Editor, Open Spine Journal, 2008
  • Associate Editor, Open Pain Journal, 2008
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Cancer Pain and Symptom Palliation, 2005
  • Associate Editor, Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, 2007 - 2009
  • Associate Editor, Pain Physician, 2007 - 2009
  • Board of Directors, Defense & Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management, 2009
  • Chairman, 121st General Hospital in Seoul, 1997 - 1999
  • Editor, Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, 2009
  • Editor, Pain Physician, 2009
  • Editorial Board, Pain Medicine
  • Vice Chairman, Wuerzburg Army Hospital, 1995 - 1996

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Questioning Steroid Shots for Back Pain, The New York Times, September 19, 2013

Psychiatric Problems Send More Troops Home Than Combat Injuries, NPR, January 27, 2010

Patient Ratings & Comments

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