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Pain Manag Nurs. 2002 Jun;3(2):61-70.

Relaxation and music reduce pain after gynecologic surgery.

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  • 1Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland 44106, OH.


The purpose of this randomized controlled trial was to investigate the effect of three nonpharmacologic nursing interventions: relaxation, music, and the combination of relaxation and music on pain following gynecologic (GYN) surgery. A total of 311 patients, ages 18 to 70, from five Midwestern hospitals, were randomly assigned using minimization to either three intervention groups or a control group and were tested during ambulation and rest on postoperative days 1 and 2. Pain sensation and distress were measured using visual analogue scales. Multivariate analysis of covariance of posttest sensation and distress was used with pretest control and a priori contrasts. The intervention groups had significantly less posttest pain than the control group (p =.022-.001) on both days. The three interventions were similar in their effect on pain. Patients who received the interventions plus patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) had 9% to 29% less pain than controls who used PCA alone. Reduced pain was related to amount of activity (ambulation or rest), mastery of the use of the intervention, and decreased pulse and respiration. Those who slept well had less pain the following day. Nurses who care for GYN surgical patients can provide soft music and relaxation tapes and instruct patients to use them during postoperative ambulation and also at rest on days 1 and 2.

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