Can improvised somatic dance reduce acute pain for young people in hospital?
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Can improvised somatic dance reduce acute pain for young people in hospital?

Lisa Dowler Independent dance artist/researcher

Aim This study explores the effects of improvised somatic dance (ISD) on children and young people experiencing acute pain following orthopaedic or cardiac surgery, or post-acquired brain injury.

Methods The study involved 25 children and young people and adopted a mixed methods approach. This included a descriptive qualitative approach to help the participants and witnesses verbalise their experience of ISD, and pain scores were assessed before and after ISD using validated pain assessment tools. Data were analysed using descriptive statistical analysis.

Findings A total of 92% of participants experienced a reduction in pain, with 80% experiencing a >50% reduction. There was an improved sense of well-being for all.

Conclusion Although not a replacement for pharmacological treatments, a multidimensional, child-centred and inclusive approach with ISD can be a useful complementary, non-pharmacological method of pain management in children and young people.

Nursing Children and Young People. 28, 9, 20-25. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2016.e740


Peer review

This article has been subject to Open peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 19 November 2015

Accepted: 21 July 2016

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