University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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A comparison of self-hypnosis versus progressive muscle relaxation in patients with multiple sclerosis and chronic pain


Jensen MP, Barber J, Romano JM, Molton IR, Raichle KA, Osborne TL, Engel JM, Stoelb BL, Kraft GH, Patterson DR



Publication Info:

International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 57(2):198-221


Twenty-two patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and chronic pain we recruited into a quasi-experimental trial comparing the effects of self-hypnosis training (HYP) with progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) on pain intensity and pain interference; 8 received HYP and the remaining 14 participants were randomly assigned to receive either HYP or PMR. HYP-condition participants reported significantly greater pre- to postsession as well as pre- to posttreatment decreases in pain and pain interference than PMR-condition participants, and gains were maintained at 3-month follow-up. Most of the participants in both conditions reported that they continued to use the skills they learned in treatment and experienced pain relief when they did so. General hypnotizability was not significantly related to treatment outcome, but treatment-outcome expectancy assessed before and after the first session was. The results support the efficacy of self-hypnosis training for the management of chronic pain in persons with MS.

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