NUI Galway are recruiting for a chronic headache management study. Martin O’Donoghue reports…
Following last years’ collaboration between NUI Galway researchers, the Migraine Association of Ireland and Chronic Pain Ireland on online methods of delivering treatment for chronic headache pain, researchers here at the University are now recruiting for an extended 2013 online study.
In 2012, NUI Galway’s Dr Jonathan Egan, Dr Brian McGuire and Angeline Traynor attempted to examine the effectiveness of an online mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR). This programme was tailored to support chronic headache pain management in adults with various types of chronic headache. Treatment was delivered via www.headachemanagement.org – a specially designed, self-paced forum for participants’ convenience.
The mindful based exercises involved were specifically designed to ease headache associated barriers such as sleep disturbance, anxiety and headache onset. The programme incorporated guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, sitting meditation and mindful awareness exercises, and cultivated mindful breathing, peaceful mind states and emotion regulation.
Participants had unlimited access to the exercises as well as information designed to support self-management of headache pain. According to researcher Angeline Traynor, “We know that a combination of psychological and mindfulness techniques are beneficial, particularly for people managing chronic or recurrent pain. This type of service was designed to be accessible to all, as an online survey it is not limited to a person’s locality.”
Consequently, last year’s research produced some notable findings. Clinically significant decreases were found in participant levels of pain severity, anxiety, depression, pain interference in daily functioning, medication intake and the overall impact of chronic headache on daily life in those who completed the programme.
The study therefore illustrated the benefits of just six weeks of online mindfulness based stress reduction practice for chronic headache sufferers. Reflecting on the study, Ms. Traynor added, “The programme was effective in supporting pain management across chronic headache conditions including migraine and tension type headache. It appears to have successfully encouraged the development of beliefs consistent with a self-management approach even among individuals who were not pre-disposed to such an approach.”
Adults that have suffered chronic headache for a period of three months or more are now sought to take part in the 2013 study. Participation in and access to the programme is designed to last six weeks while the research project itself continues until late in the year. The programme is entirely voluntary and confidential and those interested can contact Angeline Traynor at firstname.lastname@example.org or directly access the programme information at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HeadacheManagement2013 or http://www.headachemanagement.org/.