Hypnosis to manage musculoskeletal and neuropathic chronic pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2022 Apr;135:104591. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2022.104591. Epub 2022 Feb 19.

Abstract

This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to identify and quantify the current available evidence of hypnosis efficacy to manage pain in patients with chronic musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain. Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) with hypnosis and/or self-hypnosis treatment used to manage musculoskeletal and/or neuropathic chronic pain in adults and assessing pain intensity were included. Reviews, meta-analyses, non-randomized clinical trials, case reports and meeting abstracts were excluded. Five databases, up until May 13th 2021, were used to search for RCTs using hypnosis to manage chronic musculoskeletal and/or neuropathic pain. The protocol is registered on PROSPERO register (CRD42020180298) and no specific funding was received for this review. The risk of bias asessement was conducted according to the revised Cochrane risk of bias tool for randomized control trials (RoB 2.0). Nine eligible RCTs including a total of 530 participants were considered. The main analyses showed a moderate decrease in pain intensity (Hedge's g: -0.42; p = 0.025 after intervention, Hedge's g: -0.37; p = 0.027 after short-term follow-up) and pain interference (Hedge's g: -0.39; p = 0.029) following hypnosis compared to control interventions. A significant moderate to large effect size of hypnosis compared to controls was found for at 8 sessions or more (Hedge's g: -0.555; p = 0.034), compared to a small and not statistically significant effect for fewer than 8 sessions (Hedge's g: -0.299; p = 0.19). These findings suggest that a hypnosis treatment lasting a minimum of 8 sessions could offer an effective complementary approach to manage chronic musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain. Future research is needed to delineate the relevance of hypnosis in practice and its most efficient prescription.

Keywords: Analgesia; Complementary therapy; Neuralgia; Non-pharmacologic treatment; Pain management; Pain perception; Pain treatment.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Pain* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis* / methods
  • Neuralgia* / therapy
  • Pain Measurement