Few effective therapies are available for children with recurrent abdominal pain (RAP). Relaxation and guided imagery have been shown to impact the autonomic nervous system, which is altered in patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders. Ten children with RAP were enrolled in the study after evaluation by a pediatric gastroenterologist. They were trained in relaxation and guided imagery during 4 weekly 50-minute sessions. Pain diaries were completed at 0, 1, and 2 months. Children and parents also completed psychological questionnaires at enrollment. Although refractory to conventional treatment by their physician and pediatric gastroenterologist, the children experienced a 67% decrease in pain during the therapy (chi-square for trend, p<0.001). No baseline psychological characteristics impacted the response to therapy. The use of relaxation along with guided imagery is an effective and safe treatment for childhood RAP.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health