Guided imagery for musculoskeletal pain: A systematic review

Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, Devon, UK.
The Clinical journal of pain (Impact Factor: 2.7). 03/2011; 27(7):648-53. DOI: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e31821124a5
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The objective of this systematic review was to assess the effectiveness of guided imagery (GI) as a treatment option for musculoskeletal pain (MSP).
Six databases were searched from their inception to May 2010. All controlled clinical trials were considered, if they investigated GI in patients with any MSP in any anatomic location and if they assessed pain as an outcome measure. Trials of motor imagery were excluded. The selection of studies, data extraction, and validation were performed independently by 2 reviewers.
Nine randomized clinical trials (RCTs) met the inclusion criteria. Their methodologic quality ranged between 1 and 3 on the Jadad scale. Eight RCTs suggested that GI leads to a significant reduction of MSP. One RCT indicated no change in MSP in comparison with usual care.
It is concluded that there are too few rigorous RCTs testing the effectiveness of GI in the management of MSP. Therefore, the evidence that GI alleviates MSP is encouraging but inconclusive.

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    • "Guided imagery also appeared as a resilience factor in this 14 years follow-up of the Fors et al. 2002 study [18], which supports findings that relaxation, imagery and cognitive training may predict reductions in pain compared to untreated patients [58]. Syrjala et al. [59] and van Kuiken et al. [60] have revealed results which show that guided imagery have positive effects the first five to seven weeks after treatment, but that the effects seem to yield after 18 weeks [61] in reducing persistent pain [19,62], but it has not been investigated in a long-term prospective studies previously. "
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