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Pain Reduction Through Relaxation and Music - Fibromyalgia news

  [ 151 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Source: • • January 1, 1999

A study of 500 patients undergoing major abdominal surgery showed that those who received relaxation technique instruction and their choice of soothing music experienced less post-operative pain and requested less pain medication than those given medication alone. The findings may be critical to managing other types of pain such as chronic pain, cancer pain and pain of the critically ill.

The study, led by Marion Good, Ph.D., R.N., was published in the May issue of Pain and supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Good and her team studied four different groups of abdominal surgery patients; one given medication and a jaw relaxation technique, a second given medication and music to listen to, a third given relaxation and music, and the fourth (the control group) given medication only. After surgery, the three groups given additional pain control methods experienced significant reductions in pain compared to the control group. Dr. Good refers to the relaxation and music therapies as "self-care methods" and stresses their importance when used with traditional pain medication.

"Both medication and self-care methods which involve patient participation are needed for relief," said Dr. Good.

The relaxation technique taught to patients was simple: patients were instructed to have a relaxed jaw, softened lips, to rest their tongue in the bottom of their mouth and breathe rhythmically in a three-part pattern of inhale, exhale and rest. The music patients could choose from was harp, piano, synthesizer, orchestral or slow jazz. Dr. Good found that during the two days following surgery the treatment groups using these methods had less pain while resting and while walking.

These techniques in pain reduction not only help make the patient more comfortable but also speed recovery. Pain can heighten the body's response to the stress of surgery and increase tissue breakdown, coagulation and fluid retention. Additionally, pain can interrupt sleep and curb appetite, further hampering the healing process.

Perhaps most important is the implication this study may have for the hundreds of thousands experiencing chronic pain. Dr. Good's work certainly suggests that finding effective ways to relax may significantly effect one's experience of pain for the better.


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