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Pain Manag Nurs. 2005 Jun;6(2):58-67.

Changes in the meaning of pain with the use of guided imagery.

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College of Nursing, Kent State University, Ohio 44242, USA.


The purpose of this study is to determine how verbal descriptions of pain change with the use of a guided imagery technique. A mixed method, concurrent nested design was used. Participants in the treatment group used the guided imagery technique over a consecutive 4-day period, and those in the control group were monitored. Verbal descriptions of pain were obtained before randomization and at four daily intervals. A total of 210 pain descriptions were obtained across the five time points. Data were analyzed using content analysis. Six categories emerged from the data: pain is never-ending, pain is relative, pain is explainable, pain is torment, pain is restrictive, and pain is changeable. For participants in the treatment group, pain became changeable. The meaning of pain as never-ending was a prominent theme for participants before randomization to treatment and control groups. It remained a strong theme for participants in the control group throughout the 4-day study period; however, pain as never-ending did not resurface for participants in the treatment group.

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