Multisensory stimulation as a non-pharmacological intervention for neonates undergoing painful procedures: A scoping review

Abstract: AIM: The aim of this review is to identify available evidence on MSS practices as a pain-relieving intervention among neonates undergoing a repetitive painful procedure. METHODS: Searches were performed in the following databases: PubMed/ MEDLINE, SCOPUS, CINAHL, and the physiotherapy evidence database (PEDro). A total of eight studies were identified, among them; studies related to MSS in relieving neonatal procedural pain were conducted only in three countries only. RESULTS: Data collected from the identified studies were extracted by two independent reviewers, and were synthesized quantitatively, and qualitatively. Eight studies involving six hundred and eighty-six neonates in three countries were identified in the search. Among them, six were randomized controlled trials, and two were observational studies. The study results highlighted that implementation of MSS as a non-pharmacological pain-relieving intervention follows a similar protocol among the reviewed articles, but varies by who administers MSS (Physiotherapists/ Nurses/Mothers) in neonates undergoing repetitive painful procedures. INTERPRETATION: Standardized MSS protocol should be followed globally along with its implementation for reducing procedural pain among neonates and also to promote good clinical practice in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) settings. Future research could determine the effects of standardized MSS protocol either with or without other non-pharmacological interventions among neonates undergoing painful procedures.

*Corresponding Author: 

Dr. Asir John Samuel, PhD (Physiotherapy), MPT (Neurosciences and Paediatric Neurology), BPT, BSc (Psychology), DYScEd, Additional Professor cum Vice Principal,Yenepoya Physiotherapy College,Yenepoya (Deemed to be University), Deralakatte, Mangalore-575018, Karnataka, India. Tel.: +91 8059930222; E-mails: and