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Hypnosis feasible in pain management in elderly patients

04 Feb 2020

A hypnosis intervention is effective and may be used to manage pain in an elderly population, a study reports.

Researchers conducted a pilot trial and enrolled 15 elderly women (median age, 81 years) with chronic pain persisting for >6 months, with an average pain score of >4/10. All participants underwent three 15-minute hypnosis sessions separated by 4–6 weeks for 12 weeks.

Each hypnosis session was tailored for each participant and carried out with induction, pain perception alteration and posthypnotic suggestions. The effect on pain perception and pain interference was evaluated using the Brief Pain Inventory questionnaire.

The hypnosis home care intervention produced significant improvements in the following outcomes: worst pain (from 8.9 at baseline to 6.7 at week 12; p<0.001), average pain (from 6.8 to 5.1; p<0.001) and current pain perception (from 6.5 to 3.9; p<0.001), as well as pain interference with physical activity (p<0.001) and with socio-affective factors (p<0.01).

The present data show that hypnosis favourably influences not only pain perception but also interference of pain on motor and psychological factors, according to the researchers. This offers an alternative method for managing pain, along with pain-related physical activity, fear-avoidance behaviour and states of depression, which can cut hospitalization rates and prevent sedentary lifestyle.

Additional studies are needed to evaluate the long-term effects of a hypnosis programme on motor/psychological factors and their underlying mechanisms with ageing, the researchers added.

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Pearl Toh, 6 days ago
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