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A Prospective, Randomized Trial of Cognitive Intervention for Postoperative Pain

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A single-blind, randomized prospective trial was performed at a university hospital to determine if preoperative relaxation training will decrease pain and narcotic demand postoperatively. A convenience sample of 49 patients undergoing lumbar and cervical spine surgery was randomized to receive instruction on relaxation techniques or routine preoperative information before surgery. Pain score and narcotic demand in the first 48 hours after surgery were the primary outcomes. Pain scores were higher in the relaxation (4.8 ± 1.7) versus the standard preparation group (3.9 ± 1.7) on postoperative day one (POD) 1, but lower on POD 2 (3.9 ± 1.9 vs 4.1 ± 1.9), whereas narcotic use (milligrams of IV morphine per hour) was higher in the relaxation group on POD 1 (1.14 ± 0.94 vs 0.54 ± 0.55) and POD 2 (0.86 ± 0.73 vs 0.50 ± 0.61). The differences were significant for narcotic demand (P = 0.01) but not for pain (P = 0.94). In conclusion, our results could not support the use of relaxation training for reducing postoperative pain and narcotic demand in this selected surgical population.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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