Apr 23, 2014

In collaboration with the Migraine Association of Ireland and Chronic Pain Ireland the researchers at the National University of Ireland Galway are conducting a study on chronic headache pain management using online methods of treatment delivery.

Dr. Brian McGuire and Angeline Traynor seek 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 is delivered via – a specially designed, self-paced forum for participants’ convenience.

Participants have 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 incorporates daily practice of guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, sitting mindfulness meditation exercises and practical advice for self-management of chronic headache.

“We know that a combination of psychological and mindfulness techniques are beneficial, particularly for people managing chronic or recurrent pain” says Angeline Traynor, researcher at NUIG. “This type of service was designed to be accessible to all, as being online it is not limited to locality”.


The study was previously conducted in 2012.  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” says Ms Traynor.  “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”.

The study demonstrated that health benefits for chronic headache sufferers followed from just six weeks of online mindfulness based stress reduction practice.  Dr. McGuire and Ms Traynor would like to thank all who participated in the study or contributed to its development and success.

The researchers at NUI Galway are excited to be extending their online study this year and ask any individuals interested in participating to contact Angeline Traynor directly at [email protected] or go directly to the intake survey at for further information.

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