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Keywords:

  • postoperative;
  • pain;
  • music;
  • relaxation;
  • intestinal;
  • surgery;
  • minimization

Abstract

Three nonpharmacological nursing interventions, relaxation, chosen music, and their combination, were tested for pain relief following intestinal (INT) surgery in a randomized clinical trial. The 167 patients were randomly assigned to one of three intervention groups or control and were tested during ambulation and rest on postoperative days 1 and 2. Pain sensation and distress were measured with visual analog scales (VAS). Multivariate analysis of covariance showed significantly less post-test pain in the intervention groups than in the control group on both days after rest and at three of six ambulation post-tests (p = .024–.001), resulting in 16–40% less pain. Mixed effects after ambulation were due to the large variation in pain and difficulty relaxing while returning to bed; but post hoc explorations showed effects for those with high and low pain. These interventions are recommended along with analgesics for greater postoperative relief without additional side effects. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 28: 240–251, 2005