To evaluate the effect of Brief Guided Imagery (BGI) on patients suffering chronic, fibromyalgia-related pain.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic pain and accompanied by fatigue, depression, sleep problems, decreased daily functioning, and a lack of energy, thus negatively impacting daily functions, mental and physical health, and quality of life.
An exploratory, controlled trial.
The study was conducted at Clalit Health Services (CHS) Physiotherapy Institute, Jerusalem, Israel and approved by the CHS IRB (0015-com2-16).
Thirty-seven female patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia were alternatively allocated to an intervention group 1 (IG1) including 18 patients, or a control group (CG) including 19 patients. Following the first BGI trial, the 16 remaining participants in CG became intervention group 2 (IG2), and 13 patients completed the trial.
All patients completed a Brief Pain Inventory pain questionnaire and an SF-36 satisfaction questionnaire, before and after the intervention.
The findings of this study are encouraging. Training in BGI was found to be related to significant improvement in pain management, general activity, mood, walking ability, routine work, relationships with others, sleep and enjoyment of life. Significant improvements were found for overall pain, as well as for mood and quality of life.
We see a trend of improvement following BGI, but more research is needed to investigate this technique. Significant improvements were found for overall pain, as well as for mood and quality of life. We recommend adding BGI to treatment plans for patients suffering chronic, fibromyalgia-related pain. While other guided imagery methods last up to 20 minutes per session, BGI is innovative since only two minutes are required to obtain a positive effect on chronic pain and quality of life measures.