The Feasibility of Hypnotic Analgesia in Ameliorating Pain and Anxiety Among Adults Undergoing Needle Electromyography

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Our hypothesis was that hypnotic analgesia reduces pain and anxiety during electromyography (EMG).


We performed a prospective randomized, controlled clinical trial at outpatient electrodiagnostic clinics in teaching hospitals. Just before EMG, 26 subjects were randomized to one of three 20-min audio programs: education about EMG (EDU) (n = 8); hypnotic induction without analgesic suggestion (n = 10); or hypnotic induction with analgesic suggestion (n = 8). The blinded electromyographer provided a posthypnotic suggestion at the start of EMG. After EMG, subjects rated worst and average pain and anxiety using visual analog scales.


Mean values for the EDU, hypnotic induction without analgesic suggestion, and hypnotic induction with analgesic suggestion groups were not significantly different (mean ± SD): worst pain 67 ± 25, 42 ± 18, and 49 ± 30; average pain 35 ± 26, 27 ± 14, and 25 ± 22; and anxiety 44 ± 41, 42 ± 23, and 22 ± 24. When hypnosis groups were merged (n = 18) and compared with the EDU condition (n = 8), average and worst pain and anxiety were less for the hypnosis group than EDU, but this was statistically significant only for worst pain (hypnosis, 46 ± 24 vs. EDU, 67 ± 35; P = 0.049) with a 31% average reduction.


A short hypnotic induction seems to reduce worst pain during electromyography.

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