Relaxation as treatment for chronic musculoskeletal pain

Chronic musculoskeletal pain is very common in today’s western society. With chronic musculosketetal pain many patients encounter such things as: sleeping disorders, fatigue, depression, and mood disturbances. Some of the relaxation techniques used in this study are as follows: progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery and autogenic training.

In this study 12 randomized control trials were analyzed. Total number of participants varied from 28 to 393 at the start of each study. Many of the patients were diagnosed with conditions such as fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, neck pain and many more.

From these trials short-term pain reduction experienced immediately after treatment was present in 6 of the 12 studies. Another four studies found a significant decrease in pain after 3 to 6 months of treatment, as well as an significant increase in the patients ability to control and reduce pain.

These trials demonstrated that guided imagery as well as other relaxation techniques could be an effective treatment for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Other various positive effects reported in these studies were: increased mobility, balance, coordination and an increase in coping strategies enhancing control over the pain.

Article Reference

Persson, A. L., Veenhuizen, H., Zachrison, L., & Gard, G. (2008). Relaxation as treatment for chronic musculoskeletal pain — a systematic review of randomised controlled studies. Physical Therapy Reviews, 13(5), 355-365.