Relaxation and Music Reduce Pain Following Intestinal Surgery

M. Good
G. C. Anderson
S. Ahn
X. Cong
M. Stanton-Hicks


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.