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June 2019

Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 1995 Jun; 1(3): 77-84.

Non-pharmacological aspects of acute pain management.

Stevensen C.

Royal London Homeopathic Hospital NHS Trust, London, UK.

In this paper, non-pharmacological aspects of acute pain management were explored. Much of the research to date with regard to pain management, has been done, addressing the needs of chronic rather than acute pain. It is thought that misconceptions are still held by some health care professionals regarding the adequacy of pharmacology to deal totally with the problems of acute pain management, and it is of more importance to concentrate on issues associated with chronic pain. This is borne out by the relative attention paid to acute and chronic pain in the current body of research. Some aspects of non-pharmacological methods of pain management have been well researched over the last 20 to 30 years, whilst others are more recent innovations. Non-pharmacological aspects of acute pain management were examined under two headings: 1. Psychological approaches: including preoperative information giving, cognitive methods, relaxation training, distraction, guided imagery, humour, hypnosis, music and biofeedback. 2. Complementary therapies and other techniques: including both hands on and other physical therapies using equipment: massage, aromatherapy, reflex zone therapy, acupuncture, shiatsu, therapeutic touch and TENS. There is a sound body of knowledge to support the use of many of the established nonpharmacological methods in the management of acute pain. These include: appropriate preoperative information giving, preoperative relaxation, guided imagery and breathing training, cognitive reframing, distraction in both visual and auditory (music) forms, massage, acupuncture, TENS. Other methods which may be of assistance in acute pain management but are inconclusive in their effect from the current body of available research and may require further examination include: hypnosis, humour therapy, biofeedback techniques, aromatherapy, reflex zone therapy, shiatsu, Therapeutic Touch.


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