UA psychology professor seeks relief for chronic headache sufferers

May 10, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Dr. Beverly Thorn, chair of The University of Alabama's psychology department, is seeking volunteers for a key study into how "mindfulness meditation" can help manage chronic pain from headaches.

Complementary and approaches are becoming increasingly popular among the American public for the treatment of an array of physical, emotional and mental problems, Thorn said. One such approach is “mindfulness .” The approach appeals to a wide range of people and is gaining steady research support for its use in treating health-care problems.

Mindfulness meditation is a specific form of meditation originally developed in the East. The idea has been integrated into Western psychology and health care.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of mindfulness-based approaches within the Western medical community, describes mindfulness as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience, moment by moment.”

“Although people might think of monasteries and monks when they hear the word ‘meditation,’ patients across the country are discovering that these approaches are much more applicable to everyday life than once thought,” said Thorn, who has performed extensive research on the psychology of and pain management. “Meditation as applied to healthcare is being demystified and made practical at a number of locations.”

Investigators in UA’s psychology department are performing cutting-edge research on the effectiveness of this treatment approach for chronic headache pain management. The eight-week program, developed by Thorn and her senior graduate student, Melissa Day, is an integrated treatment with at its core.

The treatment also includes mindful yoga, led by Dr. Nancy Rubin, a certified yoga instructor, and stress management skills. Treatment groups are under way with headache patients meeting once a week for two-hour sessions, for a total of eight weeks.

Also as part of the program, patients are provided with a series of CDs that are intended as a guide for daily, at-home meditation practice. This research already is receiving international recognition and is being funded through grants from the Anthony Marchionne Foundation and the National Headache Foundation.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

A walk at the mall or the park? New study shows, for moms and daughters, a walk in the park is best

November 17, 2017
Spending time together with family may help strengthen the family bond, but new research from the University of Illinois shows that specifically spending time outside in nature—even just a 20-minute walk—together can ...

When male voles drink alcohol, but their partner doesn't, their relationship suffers

November 17, 2017
A study of the effect of alcohol on long-term relationships finds that when a male prairie vole has access to alcohol, but his female partner doesn't, the relationship suffers - similar to what has been observed in human ...

Risk of distracted driving predicted by age, gender, personality and driving frequency

November 17, 2017
New research identifies age, gender, personality and how often people drive as potential risk factors for becoming distracted while driving. Young men, extroverted or neurotic people, and people who drive more often were ...

Spanking linked to increase in children's behavior problems

November 16, 2017
Children who have been spanked by their parents by age 5 show an increase in behavior problems at age 6 and age 8 relative to children who have never been spanked, according to new findings in Psychological Science, a journal ...

Multiplayer video games: Researchers discover link between skill and intelligence

November 15, 2017
Researchers at the University of York have discovered a link between young people's ability to perform well at two popular video games and high levels of intelligence.

Generous people give in a heartbeat—new study

November 15, 2017
Altruistic people are said to be "kind hearted" - and new research published in the journal Scientific Reports shows that generous people really are more in touch with their own hearts.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.