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Guided Imagery: A Winning Strategy for Osteoarthritis

22 Mar

Researchers from Indiana University School of Nursing in Indianapolis looked at whether guided imagery and relaxation was a useful self-management strategy for osteoarthritis, and whether it could help control symptoms and decrease the use of medication. Specifically, they tested whether it could reduce pain, improve mobility and reduce medication use.
 
Thirty older adults were randomly assigned to participate in the 4-month trial by using either GIR or a sham intervention, planned relaxation.

Repeated-measures analysis of variance revealed that, compared with those who used the sham intervention, participants who used GIR had a significant reduction in pain from baseline to month 4 and significant improvement in mobility from baseline to month 2. 

Poisson technique indicated that, compared with those who used the sham intervention, participants who used GIR had a significant reduction in over-the-counter (OTC) medication use from baseline to month 4, prescribed analgesic use from baseline to month 4, and total medication (OTC, prescribed analgesic, and prescribed arthritis medication) use from baseline to month 2 and month 4.

Results of this study support the efficacy of GIR in reducing symptoms, as well as in reducing medication use.  The researchers conclude that guided imagery with relaxation is a useful strategy for clinicians to use for pain management. 

Citation:  Baird CL, Murawski MM, Wu J. Efficacy of Guided Imagery with Relaxation for Osteoarthritis Symptoms and Medication Intake. Pain Management  Nursing. 2010 Mar;11 (1):apges 56-65. Epub 2010 Jan 4

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award