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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2012 Jul;44(1):95-104. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2011.07.014. Epub 2012 Jun 5.

Guided imagery for non-musculoskeletal pain: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials.

Author information

1
Department of Complementary Medicine, University of Exeter, Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom. Paul.Posadzki@pcmd.ac.uk

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Our previous review of the literature concluded that there is encouraging evidence that guided imagery alleviates musculoskeletal pain, but the value of guided imagery in the management of non-musculoskeletal pain remains uncertain.

OBJECTIVES:

The objective of this systematic review was to assess the effectiveness of guided imagery as a treatment option for non-musculoskeletal pain.

METHODS:

Six databases were searched from their inception to February 2011. Randomized clinical trials were considered if they investigated guided imagery in human patients with any type of non-musculoskeletal pain in any anatomical location and assessed pain as a primary outcome measure. Trials of motor imagery and hypnosis were excluded. The selection of studies, data extraction, and validation were performed independently by two reviewers.

RESULTS:

Fifteen randomized clinical trials met the inclusion criteria. Their methodological quality was generally poor. Eleven trials found that guided imagery led to a significant reduction of non-musculoskeletal pain. Four studies found no change in non-musculoskeletal pain with guided imagery in comparison with progressive relaxation, standard care, or no treatment.

CONCLUSION:

The evidence that guided imagery alleviates non-musculoskeletal pain is encouraging but remains inconclusive.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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