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.
Copyright © 2012 U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.