Subject-generated internal imagery coupled with relaxation as a treatment for chronic pain
Farmer, Katherine Armstrong
Master of Arts
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The chronic pain experience is a multifaceted phenomenon involving sensory, cognitive, affective, motivational and behavioral dimensions. There has been no single consistently successful method of pain control and multiple treatment approaches are frequently utilized by the chronic pain sufferer. The treatment approach investigated in this experiment used a relaxation technique coupled with visualization. Thirty-two chronic pain subjects with various diagnoses were divided into four groups using a quasi-random design. Two groups received training in a relaxation technique for eight weeks, and two groups started with relaxation and then were also given a visualization procedure for the final four weeks. Assessments using the McGill Pain Questionnaire, the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control, the Profile of Mood States, and the West Haven-Yale Multidimensional Pain Inventory were done before treatment, at the mid-point, and at the end of treatment. The results showed no consistent differences between treatment groups and failed to indicate any clear-cut advantages for either relaxation or visualization in controlling chronic pain. There was no consistent reduction in pain or pain behaviors over the course of the experiment regardless of situation.