‘Taking the pain out of work’: Promising results from ongoing back pain rehabilitation trial at NUI Galway

Jul 11 2012 Posted: 10:45 IST

Interim findings from the HRB-funded ‘Pain Disability Prevention Trial’, currently running at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, shows promising results for people with back pain. 

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

Miriam Raftery, researcher at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, says “The initial trends 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:  “The sessions helped me to structure my 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: “I found the programme very beneficial and was very helpful to have the set appointment every week.  I will miss the sessions enormously.”

Researchers are still recruiting people to take part in this trial in Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Limerick, Cork and Dublin.  All appointments take place locally in each region.  The researchers are interested in hearing from people who are unable to work or are on reduced work hours due to back pain. Lead researcher Dr Brian McGuire, NUI Galway, said: “We are very encouraged with 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, please contact Miriam Raftery, Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, email Miriam.raftery@nuigalway.ie, phone 091 495 830 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.


Marketing and Communications Office


Featured Stories