Arts Therapy and Its Implications in Chronic Pain Management: A Narrative Review

Chronic nonmalignant pain is recognized as a complex, dynamic, phenomenological interplay between biological, psychological, and social factors that are individual to the person suffering from it. Therefore, its management and treatment ought to entail the individual’s biopsychosocial aspects that are often addressed by collaborative, inter/multidisciplinary multimodal care, as there is no biologic treatment. In an effort to enhance inter/multidisciplinary multimodal care, a narrative review of arts therapy as a mind–body intervention and its efficacy in chronic pain populations has been conducted. Changes in emotional and physical symptoms, especially pain intensity, during arts therapy sessions have also been discussed in in the context of attention distraction strategy. Arts therapy (visual art, music, dance/movement therapy, etc.) have been investigated to summarize relevant findings and to highlight further potential benefits, limitations, and future directions in this area. We reviewed 16 studies of different design, and the majority reported beneficial effects of art therapy in patients’ management of chronic pain and improvement in pain, mood, stress, and quality of life. However, the results are inconsistent and unclear. It was discovered that there is a limited amount of high-quality research available on the implications of arts therapy in chronic nonmalignant pain management. Due to the reported limitations, low effectiveness, and inconclusive findings of arts therapy in the studies conducted so far, further research with improved methodological standards is required.

Raudenská, J., Šteinerová, V., Vodičková, Š. et al. Arts Therapy and Its Implications in Chronic Pain Management: A Narrative Review. Pain Ther (2023).

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