Researchers from the University of Almeria and Poniente Hospital in Almeria, Spain, evaluated the effects of guided imagery as a nursing intervention for pain management and depression in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

In this 8-week, quasi-experimental study, patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia, aged 18 to 70 years (n = 60), were randomly assigned to a guided imagery group (n = 30) or a control group (n = 30).

The pain outcomes were measured by the McGill Pain Questionnaire long form (MPQ-LF) and the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Depression was measured by the Beck Depression Inventory and the VAS for depression. Scores were examined at baseline, post-intervention (4th week), and at the end of the study (8th week).

The treatment group reported statistically significantly lower levels of pain (P < .046) and depression (P < .010) than the control group at Week 4. A statistically significant effect on pain as measured by the daily VAS diary was also found in the experimental group at the 4th week. However, at week 8, no significant differences were found for pain.

The investigators conclude that patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia may benefit from this nursing intervention in terms of relieving pain and depression, and that guided imagery relaxation therapy could be incorporated as part of fibromyalgia treatment.

Citation: Onieva-Zafra MD1, García LH, Del Valle MG. Effectiveness of guided imagery relaxation on levels of pain and depression in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Holistic Nurse Practitioner. 2015 Jan-Feb;29 (1):pages 13-21.