Guided Imagery for Musculoskeletal Pain.

Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, Devon, UK.
The Clinical journal of pain (Impact Factor: 2.53). 03/2011; 27(7):648-53. DOI: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e31821124a5
Source: PubMed


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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    • "Similarly, in a systematic review of the effectiveness of GI as a treatment option for musculoskeletal pain, eight of the nine identified RCTs found that GI led to a significant reduction of pain (Posadzki & Ernst, 2011a). However, the generally poor quality of the studies led the authors to conclude that although the evidence was " encouraging, " it remained " inconclusive " (Posadzki & Ernst, 2011a, p. 652). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasingly used for treating myriad health conditions and for maintaining general health. The present article provides an overview of current CAM use with a specific focus on mind-body CAM and its efficacy in treating health conditions. Method: Characteristics of CAM users are presented, and then evidence regarding the efficacy of mind-body treatments (biofeedback, meditation, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, hypnosis, yoga, tai chi, and qi gong) is reviewed. Results: Demographics associated with CAM use are fairly well-established, but less is known about their psychological characteristics. Although the efficacy of mind-body CAM modalities for health conditions is receiving a great deal of research attention, studies have thus far produced a weak base of evidence. Methodological limitations of current research are reviewed. Suggestions are made for future research that will provide more conclusive knowledge regarding efficacy and, ultimately, effectiveness of mind-body CAM. Considerations for clinical applications, including training and competence, ethics, treatment tailoring, prevention efforts, and diversity, conclude the article. Conclusions: Integration of CAM modalities into clinical health psychology can be useful for researchers taking a broader perspective on stress and coping processes, illness behaviors, and culture; for practitioners seeking to incorporate CAM perspectives into their work; and for policy makers in directing healthcare resources wisely.
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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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