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Management of pain in sickle cell disease using biofeedback therapy: A preliminary study


Fifteen patients with a history of painful episodes of sickle cell disease were given training in progressive relaxation, thermal biofeedback, cognitive strategies, and self-hypnosis to help them develop self-management skills to relieve pain. Results show a 38.5% reduction in the number of emergency room visits, a 31% reduction in the number of hospitalizations, and a 50% reduction in the inpatient stay during the 6 months since the beginning of therapy compared to 6 months prior to therapy. Analgesic intake was reduced by 29% for those who were using it regularly. This is a preliminary study, and the results are considered only as suggestive of the potential use of biofeedback therapy and behavioral management in alleviating painful episodes in sickle cell disease.

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Thomas, J.E., Koshy, M., Patterson, L. et al. Management of pain in sickle cell disease using biofeedback therapy: A preliminary study. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 9, 413–420 (1984).

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Descriptor Key Words

  • biofeedback
  • behavioral therapies
  • pain crisis
  • sickle cell disease