Relaxation and Music Reduce Pain Following Intestinal Surgery


Research in Nursing & Health




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.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Abdominal Surgery; Distress; Hospital Setting; Hospitalized Patients; Music in Combination with Other Techniques; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Pain at Ambulation; Pain at Rest; Pain Management and Control; Pain Score or Rating; Pain; Postoperative Pain; Postoperative Patients; Recorded Music Listening; Relaxation; Self-Report Measures; Surgery; Surgical Patients; Visual Analog Scale (VAS)

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Intestines; Multivariate Analysis; Pain Measurement; Postoperative Pain; Patient Satisfaction; Relaxation Therapy; Stress

Study Type

Randomized Controlled Trial; Quantitative Methods


Gastroenterology | Nursing | Surgery

PubMed ID


Document Type