Guided imagery for pain management in postoperative orthopedic patients: An integrative literature review

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Journal of Holistic Nursing


Background: Pain following orthopedic surgery can be intense due to the nature of the surgical procedure. Pain is a multilevel phenomenon that includes physiological and psychosocial components. Interventions that address body, mind, and spirit are needed to provide holistic management of pain. Guided imagery is a mind–body intervention that can address all aspects of the patient’s pain experience. Purpose: This integrative review, informed by Watson’s theory of human caring, identifies evidence that either supports or refutes the use of guided imagery as a supplement to pharmaceutical pain management for postoperative orthopedic patients. Method: An integrative literature search was conducted. Twenty-two studies were identified as potentially relevant to this study. Nine of the articles met all inclusion criteria and were included in this study. Results and Conclusions: Based on the evidence reviewed, it is recommended that guided imagery be used as an adjunct for pain management in patients undergoing orthopedic surgery. However, additional research in this area is needed. Future research: Two topics for further research were identified. The first is a need to identify an optimal frequency of use of guided imagery. The second is to identify how to ensure patients are using the intervention as recommended.

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