Last year, the Migraine Association of Ireland and Chronic Pain Ireland collaborated with researchers at NUI Galway on a study of chronic headache pain management using online methods of treatment delivery. The researchers at NUI Galway are extending their online study this year and are currently looking for individuals to participate.
During the 2012 study, NUI Galway’s Dr Jonathan Egan, Dr Brian McGuire and Angeline Traynor sought to examine the effectiveness of an online mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) programme 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.
Participants had unlimited access to the mindfulness based exercises and information designed to support self-management of headache pain. The exercises were specifically designed to help alleviate headache associated barriers including 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.
“We know that a combination of psychological and mindfulness techniques are beneficial, particularly for people managing chronic or recurrent pain,” said Angeline Traynor, researcher at NUI Galway. “This type of service was designed to be accessible to all. As an online survey, it is not limited to a person’s locality.”
The results of the 2012 study showed clinically significant decreases 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 were observed in those participants who completed the programme.
“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,” said Ms Traynor.
The study demonstrated that health benefits for chronic headache sufferers followed from just six weeks of online mindfulness based stress reduction practice.
Those interested in participating in the study can contact Ms Traynor at firstname.lastname@example.org or directly access the programme information at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HeadacheManagement2013 or http://www.headachemanagement.org/.