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Thursday, 29 December 2011 11:27

Lose yourself in Music to Ease Pain

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 Music Could Reduce Levels of Pain and Anxiety- suggest new study findings, published in the Journal of Pain

musicMusic as a therapy has been used since ancient times, knowingly or unknowingly we have used power of music as a soother. The current study findings suggest that engaging activities like listening to music may be most effective in reducing pain as well.

Music may have the most benefits of the anxiety prone suggests the new study. Researchers say that losing yourself in music really may help take the sting out of a root canal or other painful medical procedure -- especially if you are feeling anxious about it.

Total 143 participants were selected for the study, who  were asked to  focus intensely on the melody  while they received a painful shock in their fingertip. Participants were asked to follow the melodies, and identify unusual tones in an effort to take their mind off the pain.

Researchers noted that the magic of the music works, as they found that Participants' pain decreased as they became more and more absorbed in the tunes. Those who were the most anxious reaped the most pain-relieving benefits when they became engaged in the music.
The researchers measured the participants' responses to pain via electrical activity in the brain, dilation of their pupils, and other methods. These are considered more objective than self-reports about pain.

Researcher’s view

"Our results suggest that engaging activities like music listening may be most effective for reducing pain in high anxiety person who can easily become absorbed in activities," conclude researchers led by David H. Bradshaw, PhD, from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

The study did not look at different types of music and whether soothing music worked best. Bradshaw says the type of music isn't as important as how well it holds the patient's interest.

Expert’s view

Roger Fillingim, PhD, says the study shows it may be more effective in people who are overly anxious. "The concern was that whatever we were doing to help pain will be thwarted by anxiety, but this study suggests that certain types of distraction can actually make anxiety and pain better," says Fillingim, a professor in the College of Dentistry at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Raffi Tachdjian, MD, MPH, has watched music take children away from their pain through his work at the Children's Music Fund, a nonprofit group that provides musical instruments and music therapy to kids, teens, and young adults with chronic conditions and life-altering illnesses. He is also an assistant clinical professor of medicine and pediatrics at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine.

For those of us who want a little extra help at that next dentist visit, Bradshaw offers this suggestion: "Listening to music with headphones or playing a video game with sound effects that you can listen to with headphones are effective, as the sounds can mask the sound of the dental instruments," he says.

Uses and benefits of music therapy

Music therapy had been found effective in various disorders including,

  • Relieving mental stress and anxiety disorders
  • Children with ADHD
  • Pain reduction especially during dental procedure
  • To ease muscle tension and pain
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Controlling Hypertension
  • Cancer
  • Post operative rehabilitation

Related reading,

Music Therapy

online consultation with Music Therapist 

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Read 4031 times Last modified on Thursday, 29 December 2011 12:05


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  • Comment Link Robert Bateman Doctor of Chiropractic Friday, 06 January 2012 15:52 posted by Robert Bateman Doctor of Chiropractic

    Finally, a study that shows a sensible solution. As I Doctor of Chiropractic I deal with people with chronic pain everyday. I also used to be a DJ so I can appreciate the power of music.
    It has always worked for me, at last a group has proved it!!!!

  • Comment Link John Tuesday, 03 January 2012 12:11 posted by John

    Without wishing to sound facetious, music can also do the opposite! Which suggests this is not an exact science or easy to administer.

  • Comment Link Laura Saturday, 31 December 2011 13:27 posted by Laura

    I love this study. I self-healed chronic pain through dance, ie, the combination of music and movement. We need to stop relying on drugs and surgeries and turn to these effective and non-invasive remedies instead.

  • Comment Link Indroneil Friday, 30 December 2011 08:54 posted by Indroneil

    I have been a practitioner of music enabled wellness for the last ten years.

    It is live music, played on my own instrument - Indra Veena - for the client to listen, either one-on-one (recommended for best impact) or even virtually over phone and Skype.

    I use certain ragas (scales) picked from the vast repertoire of Indian classical music and play it in certain movements during a particular time cycle depending on the desired impact.

    For example if someone wants help in enhancing one's sexual compatibility, it will be a combination of Raga Malkauns / Bageshshree played in late evening in a medium tempo (jor) without rhythm.

    The efficacy of this music-enabled healing comes from use of certain combination of notes to open up certain chakras and guiding the primordial human energy (life force) in a certain manner.

    Please for a demo session.

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