Release Date: June 9, 2008
Media Contact: Erin Brown, External Relations
Phone: 306-585-5632
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University of Regina student researching new ways to treat chronic pain
It's not uncommon to suffer from chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMP) if you've been injured in a motor-vehicle or workplace accident. That's why University of Regina Clinical Psychology student Murray Abrams is looking to develop new ways of treating CMP.

His doctoral research will involve victims of motor-vehicle and workplace accidents by placing them into one of two groups. One group will receive treatment as usual by medical professionals, while the other group will receive individually designed exposure-based treatment for movements and activities that are sometimes feared and avoided by those with CMP. Abrams is hopeful that this treatment approach will help lessen CMP or make the pain more manageable.

"This study will be only the second in the world to use a randomized controlled clinical trial (RCT) method to evaluate this type of treatment for CMP and the first for a sample of individuals who have sustained injuries in workplace or motor-vehicle accidents," says Abrams.

After working for many years in the cabinet making and logging industries Abrams enrolled in the U of R to pursue his honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology which he received in 2006. He is continuing his education at the U of R under the supervision of Dr. Gordon Asmundson of the Anxiety and Illness Behaviours Lab.

"These innovative treatments stem from work that we and others in The Netherlands have been doing to understand the role fear and anxiety play in maintaining, or keeping alive, chronic pain. Both fear and anxiety have been found to impact the lives of those with CMP," says Asmundson. "The first ever RCT of the exposure-based treatment that Abrams will investigate was just published by Asmundson's research team in this month's issue of the journal PAIN; the results of this study show that it is effective in not only reducing fear and anxiety associated with CMP but also individual's reported pain severity. Abrams' work will help us understand whether this treatment will be helpful for those who have CMP following workplace and motor-vehicle accident injuries."

To support his research, Abrams has been awarded a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship. This is a prestigious doctoral award that totals $105,000 over three years. He has also previously been awarded a CIHR Canada Graduate Scholarship Master's Award.