A study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing found that music can significantly ease a patient's perception of chronic pain. Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation examined the effect of music on 60 patients who had been experiencing chronic pain for an average of six-and-a-half years. Most of the patients suffered from osteoarthritis, disc problems and rheumatoid arthritis. The majority experienced continuous pain in two or more parts of the body. They were recruited from pain and chiropractic clinics.

The patients were divided into two groups. One listened to music for one hour per day on headsets. The other did not listen to music at all. Among those who listened to music, half could choose the music themselves, while the other half could choose from five relaxation recordings the researchers provided them with.

The researchers found that music brought about a 21% reduction in pain levels as well as a 25% drop in depression linked to pain. The researchers said patients felt the pain less disabling with music therapy. There was no significant difference between those who could chose their own music and those who could select from five recordings given to them.

Dr. Sandra Siedlecki, team leader, said the study showed that music has a significant beneficial effect of pain reduction, less depression, less disability and increased feelings of power. She added that many sufferers of non-malignant pain continue to experience high levels of pain despite using medication. Anything that can provide relief is welcomed.

The team concluded that music does have an important role to play in modern healthcare.

Some people have written to us asking whether this pain relief may only have a short-term effect. Perhaps a long-term study would be useful.

Click here to read the abstract which appears in Advanced Journal of Nursing

Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today