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Acute Pain | Chronic Pain | General

Non-pharmacological nurse interventions in acute pain management

Clinical bottom line:

The design of this review was not appropriate to answer the question of which non-pharmacological nurse interventions are useful in the management of acute pain.

Nursing interventions in pain management

The UK's Royal College of Nursing Complementary Forum indicates that over 600 units nationwide are registered as using some form of complementary intervention in pain relief. These interventions vary enormously, and include relaxation training, skills teaching, and information giving.

Systematic review

Sindhu F. Are non-pharmacological nursing interventions for the management of pain effective?: A meta-analysis. 1996; 24:1152-1159

Inclusion criteria were randomised or quasi-randomised, controlled, blind trials of non-pharmacological nurse interventions in the management of acute pain.

Mean pain scores were used to calculate effect sizes for each trial. These were pooled using a fixed effects model.


The reviewers combined all trials, regardless of intervention type. They found no overall effect of intervention on pain.

However, the review did not attempt to standardise timings of interventions and pain outcomes, or intervention types, or pain models. It is not, therefore, possible to draw meaningful conclusions from this review.

Adverse effects

Did not state

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