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Dr. Harbinder Sandhu - University of Warwick. Coventry, , GB

Dr. Harbinder Sandhu Dr. Harbinder Sandhu

Assistant Professor, Warwick Medical School | University of Warwick


Harbinder Sandhu is an expert in behavioural change interventions for improving health, wellbeing and quality of life.


Areas of Expertise (9)

Opioid Reduction in Chronic Pain

Complex Interventions

Health and Wellbeing

Chronic Pain Management

Behaviour Change



Health Psychology

Clinical Research

Accomplishments (1)

Investigator Network Grant Awards

European Association of Communication in Health Care (EACH), 2008

Education (2)

Staffordshire University: Ph.D., Health Psychology 2008

Coventry University: MSc, Health Psychology 2003

Affiliations (2)

  • Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) Registered Health Psychologist
  • Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society (BPS)

Selected Media Appearances (3)

Opioids are not sleep aids, and can actually worsen sleep research finds

Science Daily  online


Concerns have been growing about prescriptions of opioids, which are increasing in the UK. Dr Harbinder Sandhu from Warwick Medical School, a co-author of the study, is leading a large clinical trial to support those with chronic pain to reduce their use of strong painkillers and manage their pain using non pharmacological alternatives. The NIHR-funded I-WOTCH (Improving the Wellbeing of People with Opioid Treated Chronic Pain) project is also collecting data on sleep quality. She comments: "The benefits of opioids on managing chronic pain in the short term is well-evidenced. But we have not seen long-term benefits in managing pain and the effect on sleep is unknown, results of the study will help to inform future interventions in opioid pain management. Anyone who has concerns about opioid therapy should talk to their GP..."

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Chronic pain patients to receive group support in new opioid reduction trial

Pulse  online


Dr Harbinder Sandhu, lead researcher at associate professor at Warwick Medical School, said: ‘Structured, group-based, psycho-educational self-management interventions help people to better manage their daily lives with a long-term condition, including persistent pain, but few of these have specifically targeted patients considering opioid withdrawal...’

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New NHS trial to look at reducing dependence on opioids

Nursing Times  online


The trial is being led by Dr Harbinder Sandhu, associate professor at Warwick Medical School, and Professor Sam Eldabe, consultant in pain medicine at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Dr Sandhu noted that opioids were only effective in the short term and those taking them routinely needed to manage a range of side effects and could experience “devastating withdrawal symptoms”...

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Selected Articles (6)

Experiences of people taking opioid medication for chronic non-malignant pain: a qualitative evidence synthesis using meta-ethnography


Vivien P Nichols, Francine Toye, Sam Eldabe, Harbinder Kaur Sandhu, Martin Underwood, Kate Seers

2020 To review qualitative studies on the experience of taking opioid medication for chronic non-malignant pain (CNMP) or coming off them.

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The effect of opioid therapy on sleep quality in patients with chronic non-malignant pain: A systematic review and exploratory meta-analysis

Sleep Medicine Review

Tang, N, Chantal Berna C, Banks P, Sandhu H and Stella M

2019 Current guidelines recommend opioid therapy to chronic non-malignant pain (CNP) patients when the benefits for pain and function outweigh risks. This systematic review examined the effects of opioid therapy on sleep - a valued functional outcome- in CNP.

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Testing a support programme for opioid reduction for people with chronic non-malignant pain: the I-WOTCH randomised controlled trial protocol

BMJ Open

Sandhu H, Abraham C, Alleyne S, Balasubramanian S, Betteley L, Booth, K et al

2019 Chronic non-malignant pain has a major impact on the well-being, mood and productivity of those affected. Opioids are increasingly prescribed to manage this type of pain, but with a risk of other disabling symptoms, when their effectiveness has been questioned.

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What interventions are effective to taper opioids in patients with chronic pain?


Sandhu H, Underwood M, Furlan AD, Noyes J, Eldabe S.

2018 Opioids are commonly prescribed for short term pain relief in people with chronic pain (not caused by cancer). If they are used long term, most patients develop tolerance, their pain increases, and clinicians gradually escalate the dose (fig 1). Sales of prescribed opioids in the USA quadrupled between 2000 and 2010.

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Development of an education and self-management intervention for chronic headache – CHESS trial (Chronic Headache Education and Self-management Study)

The Journal of Headache and Pain

Patel S, Potter, R, Matharu M, Carnes D, Taylor, S, Nichols V, Pincus T, Underwood M and Sandhu H.

2018 Self-management interventions are well recognised and widely used in chronic conditions. Their application to chronic headaches has been limited and generally of low quality. We describe here our process for developing an evidence based, and theory driven, education and self-management intervention for those living with chronic headache.

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A combined behavioural and mindfulness programme for people living with Dystonia. A proof of concept study

BMJ Open

Sandhu H, Bernstein C, Davies G, Tang, N, Belhag, M, Tingle, A, Field, M, Foss, J, Lindahl, A, Underwood, M, and Ellard, D.

2016 To design and test the delivery of an intervention targeting the non-motor symptoms of dystonia and pilot key health and well-being questionnaires in this population.

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