Research: GOOD, Case Western Reserv

Listed in Issue 21


GOOD, Case Western Reserve University, Frances Payne Bolton, School of Nursing, Cleveland Ohio USA writes that postoperative patients vary in their response to pain and opioid medication and that it is important that nurses can offer other options as adjuvants to medication. Relaxation and music may reduce pain by interrupting the postoperative cycle of pain, muscle tension and sympathetic activity. The author reviews (51 references), summarises and critiques studies on the effectiveness of relaxation and music used during postoperative pain.




Relaxation and music were effective in reducing affective and observed pain in the majority studies, but were less often effective in reducing sensory pain or opioid intake. However, differences between surgical procedures, experimental techniques, activities during testing, measurement of pain and amount of practice make direct comparisons difficult. Also, the validity of the studies conclusions are further reduced because of problems of inadequate sample size, lack of random assignment, no assurance of pretest equivalence, delayed post-test administration and no control for opiates at the time of testing. Nevertheless, randomised controlled studies of the types of relaxation and music most helpful to postoperative patients should be explored.



Good M. Effects of relaxation and music on postoperative pain: a review. J Adv Nurs 24(5): 905-14. Nov 1996.

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