Do Psychological Approaches Offer Pain Relief to Hospitalized Patients? Interview with:
Dr.-Ing. Marcus Komann
Jena University Hospital
Jena, Germany

Ing. Marcus Komann
 Jena University Hospital
 Jena, Germany  What is the background for this study?

Response: A lot of non-pharmacological methods (like relaxation, cold packs, prayer and so on) for post-operative pain relief are used in today’s hospitals. There is also some literature out there on this topic. However, the literature mostly concerns single methods and very specific patient groups. Further, for most methods, the literature is not clear on the pain soothing effects.

We looked at a real-life registry to study the effects of a large number of such methods on a big sample of patients. What are the main findings?

Response: In general, the effects of non-pharmaceutical methods for pain relief were rather small in our nearly 15,000 patients. We have to look at different method groups, though. There are physically applied methods like heat, cold, or massage. These showed improvements to some extent. Psychological approaches like prayer, imagination or meditation had no effects. The same is true for distractions like watching TV or talking to people. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Swallowing pills still seems the best way to cope with post-operative pain. Non-pharmaceutical methods have small to no effects. However, most methods are not only used for pain relief. They also have other medical effects (e.g. cold packs reduce swelling) or psychological influence on patients’ well-being. We would not say that using them makes no sense. If patients feel better using them, they should continue.

We do not have any disclosures.


Komann M, Weinmann C, Schwenkglenks M, Meissner W. Non-Pharmacological Methods and Post-Operative Pain Relief: An Observational Study. Anesth Pain Med. 2019;9(2):e84674. Published 2019 Apr 20. doi:10.5812/aapm.84674

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