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Original Article

The Effect of Aromatherapy with the Essential Oil of Orange on

Pain and Vital Signs of Patients with Fractured Limbs Admitted
to the Emergency Ward: ARandomized Clinical Trial
Davood Hekmatpou, Yasaman Pourandish, Pouran Varvani Farahani, Ramin Parvizrad
Traditional and Complementary Medicine Research Center, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran

Background and Objective: Pain is an emotional and unpleasant experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. The literature
shows no study on the effect of aromatherapy with the essential oil of orange on unpleasant feelings of patients with fractured limbs. In this
regard, this paper aims at studying the effect of aromatherapy with the essential oil of orange on patients with fractured limbs admitted to the
emergency ward. Methods: Sixty patients admitted to the emergency ward of ValieAsr Hospital were selected by purposive sampling method
and then were divided into two groups of control and experiment by block method. This study was done in one shift work (morning or afternoon).
Four drops of the orange oil were poured on a pad and were pinned with a plastic pin to the patients collar, about 20cm distant from head. The
old pad was replaced by the new one every 1 h. The patients pain and vital signs were checked every 1 h for at last 6h. The data were analyzed
by SPSS Version21. Results: Forty(66.7%) patients were male and twenty(33.3%) were female. Their age average was 37.9318.19years
old. The most fractured cases were in the scapular(11patients[18.3%]). Friedman test showed that pain in the experiment group(P=0.0001)
decreased significantly rather than the control group(0.339). However, in vital signs, there could be found that no significant change between
the two groups was seen. Conclusion: Aromatherapy with orange oil can relieve pain in patients with fractured limbs but has no effect on
their vital signs. Therefore, aromatherapy with orange oil can be used as a complementary medicine in these patients.

Keywords: Aromatherapy, emergency ward, limb fracture, orange oil, pain, vital sign

Introduction dysfunction in patients, especially during pain in abdomen and

thoracic regions.[7] Moreover, pain has psychological effects
According to the definition by International Association for
as well and is regarded as the main reason for fear, anxiety,
the Study of Pain, pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional
distress, and disappointment.[8] There are different ways to
experience.[1,2] Pain relief by reducing transferring painful
control pain including systemic analgesics (narcotics and
data to the central nervous system and optimizing analgesia
nonnarcotics) and local anesthesia techniques; each can be
treatment can reduce mortality and morbidity in patients.[35]
prescribed according to the patients medical condition.[9] A
Lack of pain control can activate the sympathetic nervous
safe way that can control the pain with no side effects such as
system and increase morbidity and mortality in patients.
respiratory problems, pruritus, or hemodynamic dysfunction
Indeed, the sympathetic system activities can increase
is ideal.[10]
myocardial oxygen consumption and lead to, in some cases,
ischemia and even myocardial infarction (by decreasing
oxygen due to coronary artery contractionand inhibition of Address for correspondence: Dr.Davood Hekmatpou,
Traditional and Complementary Medicine Research Center, Arak University
local vasodilator mechanisms).[36] Another important side of Medical Sciences, Basij Square, Arak, Iran.
effect of stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system is
reducing the gastrointestinal motility delay in stimulation
of the digestive system (ileus). [37] Lack of proper pain
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How to cite this article: Hekmatpou D, Pourandish Y, Farahani PV,
Parvizrad R. The effect of aromatherapy with the essential oil of orange
DOI: on pain and vital signs of patients with fractured limbs admitted to
10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_37_17 the emergency ward: A randomized clinical trial. Indian J Palliat Care

2017 Indian Journal of Palliative Care | Published by Wolters Kluwer -Medknow 431
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Hekmatpou, etal.: Oil of orange on pain and vital signs

Fractures and orthopedic surgery cause severe pain in patients 10item visual analog scale(VAS). The vital signs were checked
and applying narcotic analgesics is necessary to use narcotic by the researcher of that shift. This research was done in one
analgesics.[1116] Since the narcotic analgesics have general shift work(morning or afternoon). The patients were fractured
side effects such as respiratory problems, sedation, nausea and limbs admitted to the emergency ward of ValieAsr Hospital
vomiting, symptoms of tolerance or withdrawal syndrome in in Arak, who must undergo orthopedic surgery voluntarily
patients,using nonpharmacological methods as complement participated in this trial(they were matched based on their age,
rather than alternative interventions are recommended. In this sex, type of fracture, and the initial pain). As patient entered to
regard, there are methods in complementary medicine by which the emergency ward, for intervention, four drops of the essential
nurses can help patients.[17,18] They need to be prescribed by oil were poured on the pad and were pinned with a plastic safe
a physician or, in some cases, nurses avoid prescribing them, pin to the patients collars with about 20cm distant from the
due to fear of side effects or make longer the time between head and the pads were replaced with new ones every 1 h. The
doses. In this regard, using pharmacological drugs with pain and vital signs in patients were checked every 1 h for at
nonpharmacological methods can be helpful and more efficient last 6 h. Since aromatherapy was used as a complementary
than methods.[19] Aromatherapy is the controlled use of natural medicine, the common standard treatments of pain in the ward
aromatic oils to enhance psychological and physical wellbeing
have been performed to test and control groups.
and is used as a part of nursing in many countries including
Switzerland, Germany, England, Canada, and America.[20] Inclusion criteria
The aromatic oils are extracted from aromatic plants, which Patients with over 18 years old, no history of chronic pain,
are antiinflammatory, antimicrobial, and reduce pain and vision disorders, respiratory problems, and with mental and
stress.[2023] In fact, applying aromatherapy is common, and it smell health, could participate in this researchcould participate
is the second complementary method among nurses since its this research. The informed consents were obtained from the
clinical applications.[24] It has been proved that inhalation of the participants.
essential oil of orange can reduce the labor pain.[25] It also can
stimulate the central nervous system, enhance moods, cause Exclusion criteria
sedation and relief. It is an antispasmodic, an anti inflammatory, Patients with lack of interest in participating or withdrawing
an antibloating, a food digestive, and a diuretic, and can lower while performing the research and having any allergic
the blood pressure. Its active substances are limonene and symptoms while performing the research were excluded from
Flanders Citral(Levomenthol).[26,27] Massage and aromatherapy the study.
with a combination of ginger and orange oils were effective Collecting data tools
in relieving knee pain in the 1st week among patients with The VAS(010) was used to evaluate the pain. This scale is
osteoarthritis.[28] A study has shown that edible oil of orange graded between 0 and 10; 0 shows no pain and 10 implies the
can reduce breast pain caused by premenstrual syndrome.[29] most severe pain. The patients show their pain by pointing on
Considering the importance of pain and proper management of the right scale. This scale allows the patients to show their pain
pain in patients and few researches on the relationship between freely.[31] This scale is the most widely used pain evaluation
aromatherapy and pains of fractured bones, this paper aims at tool in the world.[3134] In addition to validity and reliability,
studying the effect of aromatherapy with the essential oil of this tool is easy to use. Zero, in this scale, shows no pain, 13
orange on pain and vital signs of patients with fractured limbs shows mild pain, 46 moderate, 79 severe, and 10 indicates
admitted to the emergency ward. very severe pain.[32] Many studies out of Iran have proved its
validity and reliability.[33] In Iran, the reliability of this scale
Methods was confirmed with correlational coefficient 0.88[34] [Figure 1].
This research is a clinical trial registered in the Center of Ethical considerations
Clinical Trial in Iran under code IRCT201607124519N6. This project has been registered under code IR. ARAKMU.
Samples size was obtained by the following formula.[30] REC.1395.111. The personal characteristics of all subjects
of the research have been kept confidential. All participated
(z + z 1 ) 2 (S 12 + S 2 2 ) voluntarily, and the informed consents were obtained. The
n= 2
subjects could withdraw whenever they wanted.
(1 2 ) 2

According to the comparison of means formula and reference

30, the sample size for each group was estimated as 30. In the
emergency ward of ValieAsr Hospital, sixty patients were
selected by the purposive sampling method and were divided
into two thirtypatients groups of experiment and control by
blocking method. The collecting data tools were a demographic
questionnaire and selfreport pain scale measured by the Figure1: The Visual Analogue Score, VAS (0-10)

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Hekmatpou, etal.: Oil of orange on pain and vital signs

Results in the two groups have the same demographic information, and
there could be found no significant differences.
Sixty patients participated in this research, 30 in the
intervention and 30 in the control group[Diagram 1]. Forty Fishers exact test results showed that the distribution of
(66.7%) patients were male and 20 (33.3%) were female. fractures in the two groups has no significant difference.
Their age average was 31.9318.19years old; the youngest Although the most common fractures were of the scapula with
was 18 and the oldest patient was 72years old. Thirtyseven 11patients(18.3%)[Table1].
patients(61.7%) were married and 23(38.3%) were single.
Eleven patients(18.3%) had diploma, 8(13.4%) had academic The results showed no statistically significant difference in
studies, and 41patients(68.3%) had lower grades. The subjects mean pain scores in different times. However, pain scores in

Enrolment Assessed for eligibility (n = 60)

Excluded (n = 0)
Not meeting inclusion criteria (n = 0)
Declined to participate (n = 0)
Other reasons (n = 0)

Randomized (n = 60)

Allocated to intervention (n = 30) Allocated to intervention (n = 30)
Received allocated intervention (n = 30) Received allocated intervention (n = 30)
Did not receive allocated intervention Did not receive allocated intervention
(give reasons) (n = 0) (give reasons) (n = 0)


Lost to follow-up (give reasons) (n = 0) Lost to follow-up (give reasons) (n = 0)

Discontinued intervention (give Discontinued intervention (give reasons)
reasons) (n = 0) (n = 0)

Analyzed (n = 30) Analyzed (n = 30)
Excluded from analysis (give Excluded from analysis (give
reasons) (n = 0) reasons) (n = 0)

Diagram 1: Flow Diagram of Enrollment

Table1: Frequency of limb fractures among two intervention and control groups
Limb fracture Group Sum Fishers exact test(P)
Intervention, frequency(%) Control, frequency(%)
Foot finger 0 1(100) 1 0.808
Hand finger 2(66.7) 2(66.7) 4
Dorsal of the foot 1(100) 0 1
Knee 2(66.7) 1(33.3) 3
Forearm 3(42.9) 5(71.4) 7
Leg 4(57.1) 2(66.7) 6
Thigh 2(33.3) 4(66.7) 6
Shoulder 15(45.5) 6(54.5) 11
Sole of the foot 1(50) 1(50) 2
Sole of the hand 0 2(100) 2
Ankle 5(71.4) 4(66.7) 9
Wrist 3(42.9) 4(57.1 7
Sum 30(50) 30(50) 60

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Hekmatpou, etal.: Oil of orange on pain and vital signs

the intervention group have significant differences at different The results showed, at all times, no statistically significant
times(P=0.0001) and with increasing duration of pain was difference in mean of temperature. This means that changes
significantly reduced[Table2]. in temperature in both groups did not differ at different
The results showed, at all times, no statistically significant
difference in mean of systolic blood pressure. This means that The results showed, at all times, no statistically significant
changes in systolic blood pressure in both groups did not differ difference in mean of respiratory rates. This means that changes
at different times[Table3]. in respiratory rates in both groups did not differ at different
The results showed, at all times, no statistically significant
difference in mean of diastolic blood pressure. This means
that changes in diastolic blood pressure in both groups did not Discussion
differ at different times[Table4]. The results showed that the pain averages the control and
experiment groups before intervention were 8.3 and 8.1,
The results showed that, in all times but 3 h after the respectively, which show severe pain. This result conforms to
intervention, the mean heart rate in both groups was not the results by the previously done researches that revealed the
statistically significant. This means that changes in pulse in high severity of orthopedic pains.[1116] Furthermore, the results
both groups did not differ at different times [Table5]. of this paper showed that severity of pain in the two groups
of experiment and control was not significantly different.
Fractures in limbs result in severe pains were forced medical
Table2: The mean of pain among two intervention and
team to give narcotic drugs that make the treatment team to
control groups
use narcotic analgesics.[1116]
Time MeanSD MannWhitney
test(P) The results showed that changes in pain severity in the
Control (mean Intervention
intervention group have significant statistical differences at
of pain) (mean of pain)
different times; over the time, the pain reduced significantly.
Start treatment 8.102.15 8.302.08 0.729
These findings indicate the positive effect of the essential
1 h later 8.331.93 7.462.28 0.101
oil of orange on pain relief in the patients with orthopedic
2 h later 8.531.80 6.402.45 0.0001
3 h later 8.331.72 6.102.46 0.0001
fractures, which are in line with the results by Lehrner on dental
4 h later 8.361.69 5.662.46 0.0001
procedures.[35] Yip and Tam showed that aromatherapy and
Friedman 0.339 0.0001 massage with orange oil and ginger can reduce knee arthritis
test(P) pains,[28] conforming to the results of this paper. However,
SD: Standard deviation Maachowska etal. studied the pain from the Lancet to measure

Table3: Comparing the mean of systolic blood pressure in two intervention and control groups
Time MeanSD MannWhitney test(P)
Control(systolic blood pressure/mmHg) Intervention(systolic blood pressure/mmHg)
Start treatment 126.6019.13 117.3316.80 0.081
1 h later 123.5020.47 113.8313.40 0.079
2 h later 121.5019.92 111.512.52 0.265
3 h later 122.0018.82 114.3311.94 0.13
4 h later 122.6017.74 114.3311.65 0.068
Friedman test(P) 0.095 0.233
SD: Standard deviation

Table4: Comparing the mean of diastolic blood pressure in two intervention and control groups
Time MeanSD MannWhitney test(P)
Control(diastolic blood pressure/mmHg) Intervention(diastolic blood pressure/mmHg)
Start treatment 79.6612.40 78.0010.63 0.841
1 h later 78.3310.80 76.3310.33 0.640
2 h later 75.339.37 76.3311.59 0.694
3 h later 77.339.44 76.008.94 0.786
4 h later 76.669.58 76.338.08 0.766
Friedman test(P) 0.173 0.295
SD: Standard deviation

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Hekmatpou, etal.: Oil of orange on pain and vital signs

groups at different times. Contrary to our results, Jafarzade

Table5: Comparing the mean of pulse rate in two
showed that inhalation of the orange oil decreased the heart
intervention and control groups
rates in the children who had referred to dentist; this difference
Time MeanSD MannWhitney may be due to difference in the natures of dental procedures
test(P) and fractures. Moreover, the atmosphere in the emergency
Control Intervention
(pulse rate) (pulse rate) ward, for example, crowdedness, long waits for surgery, and
Start treatment 84.0017.90 81.9613.40 0.603 fear of the future may reduce the effect of the orange oil on the
1 h later 85.6013.20 81.4014.50 0.134 patients vital signs. The limitation of this study was a lack of
2 h later 85.6311.06 81.0013.90 0.09 enough information about the complementary medicine by the
3 h later 85.9611.30 79.0612.80 0.021 patients, which could affect the results of effects of inhalation
4 h later 85.1012.30 79.2012.90 0.105 of the orange oil on the patients vital signs in the study.
Friedman test(P) 0.344 0.832
SD: Standard deviation
Aromatherapy with the essential oil of orange as a
Table6: Comparing the mean of temperature in two complementary medicine could relieve pain in patients with
intervention and control groups fractured limbs before surgery. It can lead to faster recovery
Time MeanSD MannWhitney and discharging of patients as well as reduce the costs of
Control Intervention
test(P) hospitalization. In this context, aromatherapy with the orange
(temperatures) (temperatures) oil in patients with fractured limbs is recommended.
Start treatment 36.580.87 36.670.9 0.899 Financial support and sponsorship
1 h later 36.510.89 36.810.97 0.269 Nil.
2 h later 36.450.83 39.690.87 0.262
3 h later 36.570.86 36.680.81 0.537 Conflicts of interest
4 h later 36.550.85 36.690.82 0.423 There are no conflicts of interest.
Friedman 0.079 0.772
SD: Standard deviation
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