A new online treatment programme, set up by expert psychologists and physiotherapists, aims to help those who suffer from chronic pain.
The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, with the support of the Health Research Board, is currently recruiting people with chronic pain (pain which has lasted for three months or more ). The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT ) trial will provide eight online sessions to people in the comfort of their own home. At the moment, such supports are mainly available through specialised hospital-based pain management teams.
Chronic pain affects up to 35 per cent of the Irish population and is increasingly recognised as a disease in its own right. Chronic pain is sometimes associated with psychological effects, which may include anxiety and changes in mood, as well as forgetfulness, and difficulties in focusing attention, planning tasks and making decisions. The ACT trial is based on emerging clinical science that demonstrates the usefulness of managing chronic pain through mindfulness and psychological wellbeing.
The study is open to people all over Ireland and will take place over the coming months. GPs and physiotherapists around the country are being encouraged to refer suitable people with pain to the study.
The free online sessions in the ACT programme will focus on values and goals that are individual to each person in the trial. Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of activity-pacing techniques to encourage more consistent levels of activity from day-to-day. In addition, mindfulness techniques and cognitive behavioural therapy will help identify both negative thinking patterns and the development of effective challenges.
Dr Christopher Dwyer, coordinator of the study at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, says: “We know that psychological therapies provided to people with chronic pain are beneficial, particularly for people at risk of long term disability. However, this type of service is often only accessible via specialised hospital-based pain management teams. In this trial, we will offer this type of service to people all over the country and at any stage of injury.”
People who take part in the ACT trial will not need to attend any clinic or the University at any stage. All materials are tailored for those wishing to learn effective ways of managing their chronic pain. Participants can access physiotherapy and all medical services as usual while involved in the trial. Study supervisor Dr Brian McGuire, NUI Galway, said: “This is a promising new online pain management programme and we are hopeful it will be of benefit to people with chronic pain.”
For further information, please contact Dr Christopher Dwyer at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, email [email protected], phone 091 495 391, or see the website http://www.nuigalway.ie/centre-for-pain-research/. GPs or physiotherapists who are interested in referring suitable patients to the trial can also use these contact details.