Research: SEERS and CARROLL,

Listed in Issue 34


SEERS and CARROLL, Royal College of Nursing Institute, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, UK reviewed (60 references) the effectiveness of relaxation techniques used alone for management of acute pain following surgery and during procedures.



The authors conducted a systematic review, searching MEDLINE, psychLITT, CINAHL, EMBASE and the Oxford Pain Relief Database, of randomised controlled trials (RCTs), which yielded 7 studies involving 362 patients. 150 patients received active relaxation as the sole intervention. Outcome measures were pain and psychological factors. A lack of primary data precluded meta-analysis.


3 of the 7 studies showed significantly less pain sensation and/or pain distress in patients receiving relaxation. 4 studies did not demonstrate any difference. There was weak evidence supporting the use of relaxation for acute pain; however, this evidence was inconclusive, with many of both the positive and negative studies suffering from methodological inadequacies.


The authors state that well designed and executed randomised controlled trials are required before the clinical use of relaxation for acute pain management can be firmly underpinned by high quality research evidence. The authors further recommend that until this evidence is obtained, that the clinical use of relaxation for acute pain settings be carefully evaluated and not used as the main treatment for the management of acute pain.


Carroll D and Seers K. Relaxation techniques for acute pain management: a systematic review. J Adv Nurs 27(3): 466-75 Mar 1998.

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