A prospective, randomized trial of cognitive intervention for postoperative pain

Michael Gavin, Mark Litt, Ahmed Khan, Hilary Onyiuke, Robert Kozol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-418
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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