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Pain (88)

16 Apr

Researchers from the Santa Lucia Foundation IRCCS and Tor Vergata University in Rome, Italy, evaluated the impact of progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery and phantom exercises on phantom pain in 51 subjects with unilateral lower limb amputation who experienced phantom limb pain (PLP) and/or phantom limb sensation (PLS).

The randomized controlled prospective trial was conducted on the amputee unit of a rehabilitation hospital, using 2 parallel groups.

The experimental group received combined training of progressive muscle relaxation and mental imagery, and phantom exercises 2 times/wk for 4 weeks, while the control group had the same amount of physical therapy dedicated to the residual limb. No pharmacological intervention was initiated during the trial period.

12 May

A water aerobics instructor reports that guided imagery with a distinctly Christian flavor is a helpful element in the cool-down phase of her water aerobics and with water tai chi classes, designed for people suffering from arthritis.  Here are her own words:

Dear Health Journeys,

I am a water aerobics instructor, who also teaches tai chi in the water to people suffering from arthritis.  I discovered imagery in the library on the internet.  Now that we have a nice, new, warm, 30-person, hydrotherapy pool, I now use my own guided imagery for the cool-down part of my classes.

I use sayings and visualizations that I have written and say quietly to my classes, as they move their arms and legs slowly to keep warm during this time.  I encourage them to close their eyes and imagine.
Because this is a Bible-based faith community, I use images of Jesus, and I close with prayer.  This seems to be a very effective, soothing and a much-appreciated way to conclude my classes.
Blessings to all of you,

Vicky B.

[Ed. Note: For excellent, Bible-based guided imagery, the Rev. Donna Shenk and Dr. Robert Miller have created the Tranquilities Series, which can be found here.]

04 May

We got this funny, appreciative and very enthusiastic email last week from a nurse who was able to benefit from guided imagery for surgery, pain and sleep, and then weight loss, to the tune of dropping 40 pounds.
Guided imagery may not be for everyone, but clearly this particular woman has found her go-to intervention!


I was introduced to your guided imagery by my therapist. She is the only one with whom I have ever made significant changes, and she taught me so many valuable things to navigate life.

I used your surgery and pain management recordings while undergoing life altering medical stuff. It was a great help in calming the freak-out factor.

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Then the sleep work was fabulous, because the insomnia was taking me over!

But the reason I am writing today is that yesterday I hit my weight loss goal of 40 pounds. This is tremendous for me. Not only is the weight off, I am calm and "better for this".

By the way you address that place in my mind (I could point to it!) I am just losing weight and not having to take on the task as a part-time job. The re-programming is working!  And with the added bonus of sleep.

So a big thank you for your commitment to mental health and expansion.  I am a nurse and talk to those who are interested like a converted whore!

So know that if I were a puppy I would have my whole body wagging.
Nancy M., aka Madge

08 Apr

Researchers from the Department of Rehab Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle evaluated the effects of a single session of four non-pharmacological pain interventions, relative to a sham procedure, on pain and electroencephalogram- (EEG-) assessed brain oscillation, in order to determine the extent to which intervention-related changes in perceived pain intensity are associated with changes in brain oscillations.

Thirty individuals with spinal cord injury and chronic pain were given an EEG and were tested for pain before and after five different procedures (hypnosis, meditation, transcranial direct current stimulation [tDCS], neurofeedback, and a control sham tDCS procedure).

Each procedure was associated with a different pattern of changes in brain activity, and all active procedures were significantly different from the control procedure in at least three bandwidths.

13 Jan

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted a pilot randomized controlled trial to assess the initial efficacy of a patient-controlled cognitive-behavioral (CB) intervention for the pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbance symptom cluster that often accompanies advanced cancer treatment.

Eighty-six patients with advanced lung, prostate, colorectal, or gynecologic cancers, receiving treatment at a comprehensive cancer center, were stratified by recruitment clinics (chemotherapy and radiation therapy) and randomized to the intervention or control groups.

Forty-three patients were assigned to receive training in and use of up to 12 relaxation, guided imagery or distraction exercises, delivered via an MP3 player for two weeks during cancer treatment.
Forty-three patients were assigned to a waitlist control condition for the same two week period. Outcomes included symptom cluster severity and overall symptom interference with daily life, measured at baseline (Time 1) and two weeks later (Time 2).

16 Dec

Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia, investigated the efficacy of mindfulness training in comparison with relaxation training on acute pain - threshold and tolerance - during a cold pressor task.

Undergraduate psychology students (n = 140) were randomly assigned to receive reassuring or threatening information about the cold pressor.  Participants were then re-randomized to receive mindfulness or the control intervention- relaxation  training.

Analyses confirmed that the threat manipulation was effective in increasing worry, fear of harm and expectations of pain, and reducing coping efficacy.

30 Sep

We just found this recent posting under a Hot Research study on imagery and pain. It’s about how guided imagery helped someone with a lot of pain. We thought it was worth a second posting.  Here goes:

Well, I don't know how it works but it has for me.  I have Chronic JRA (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis) since age 5, in several large joints on the right side, and have only used stretching exercise and walking, as my father had done every morning for years.

I also used injections in my teens, a hot H20 bottle, and Ace bandages on my hand and knees, and once had the Emergency Room orthopedic doctor put a cast on my right hand (it worked, so far as the awful pain).

23 Sep

Belleruth and HJ Staff,

Do you have any titles for burn victims beyond the general Relieve Pain title?  There is a 14 year old, significantly burned young man going through recovery experiencing excruciating pain, whom I would like to help.


Dear James,

There have been several studies showing that guided imagery, hypnosis and other mind-body methods can boost burn healing, accelerate joint motility and provide relief from the considerable pain and itching involved in recovery.  So I’m happy to make some suggestions for your teenager.

The first thing that comes to mind is Carol Ginandes' excellent Rapid Recovery from Injury - a 6 session hypnosis series that has some powerful images and suggestions around 'dialing down' pain, while addressing recovery and healing. It's very well done and highly effective for most people of all ages. 

02 Sep

Investigators from Akershus University College of Applied Sciences in Oslo, Norway, conducted a randomized clinical trial to study the efficacy of a 4-week smartphone-delivered intervention on catastrophizing and other indicators of distress in women suffering from chronic pain, following their 4-week inpatient rehabilitation stay.
A total of 140 women with chronic widespread pain, who participated in a 4-week inpatient rehabilitation program, were randomized into 2 groups: with or without a smartphone intervention following their rehabilitation stay.
The smartphone intervention consisted of one face-to-face session and 4 weeks of written communication via a smartphone. Participants received 3 smartphone diary entries daily to support their awareness of and reflection on pain-related thoughts, feelings, and activities.

26 Aug

My 37 year old daughter has suffered from terrible migraine headaches for most of her adult life, at least once or twice a month. She has been conked out on medication more times than I would like to count. The pain of these headaches is so strong that she misses a lot of work. All she can do is stay in bed and lie very still with the shades drawn and no noise. It’s heartbreaking to watch her in so much pain. She is my only child and the mother of my only 2 grandchildren.

I help with the housework and keeping the kids when the headaches come on her (her husband is pretty useless). Mostly it is a waiting game. All we could do was wait for them to go away.