Back pain sufferers wanted for research programme

People who are unable to work or are on reduced work hours due to back pain are being sought to take part in a research programme at NUI Galway.

Interim findings from the “Pain Disability Prevention Trial” currently running at the centre for pain research at the university shows promising results for people with back pain.

Researchers are evaluating the effectiveness of an active rehabilitation programme which allows patients, who are off work due to back pain, the opportunity to attend 10 free one-to-one sessions with a clinical psychologist trained in pain rehabilitation.

The aims of the sessions are to help patients gradually increase their level of activity and return to work. Sessions focus on a range of pacing techniques and cognitive therapy to identify unhelpful thinking patterns and the development of activity goals, stretches and exercise to improve physical function.

Miriam Raftery, researcher at the centre for pain research at the college, says the initial trends are promising.

“They show that those who took part in the rehabilitation sessions had improvements in overall level of functioning and activity levels as well as significant reductions in stress and anxiety, compared to those who didn’t take part in the programme.

“This suggests that the active rehabilitation programme may be beneficial in improving overall quality of life among those with back pain.”

Sue, 54, from Limerick, who took part in the free sessions earlier this year, says they helped her to structure her day and acknowledge completed tasks.

“It helped me realise that prior to the sessions every day was more or less the same. I am now back to full time employment after four years. I think the programme really helped me with this.”

Tom, 37, from Galway, says he found the programme “very beneficial” and said it was very helpful to have the set appointment every week. “I will miss the sessions enormously.”

Researchers continue to recruit people to take part in this trial in Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Limerick, Cork and Dublin. All appointments take place locally in each region.

Lead researcher Dr Brian McGuire of NUI Galway, said he is “very encouraged” by the early results of this programme.

“It has made a significant difference in the activity levels of a number of people with chronic pain.”

For further information about taking part contact Miriam Raftery, Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway or email [email protected] galway.ie or telephone

(091 ) 495830 or see

the trial website: www.nuigalway.ie /pdp General practitioners

and physiotherapists interested in referring patients to the trial are also invited to contact this number.

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