Ad­ding mu­sic to pain meds may re­duce pain

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

SEOUL, South Korea: As a com­ple­ment to tra­di­tional pain re­lief tools like med­i­ca­tion, lis­ten­ing to mu­sic may lessen acute or chronic pain re­lated to can­cer and other con­di­tions, ac­cord­ing to a new re­view. “We have seen and ob­served this ef­fect in mul­ti­ple clin­i­cal set­tings such as med­i­cal hos­pi­tals and hos­pice-care fa­cil­i­ties,” said au­thor Jin Hyung Lee of Ewha Wo­mans Univer­sity in Seoul, South Korea. “In ad­di­tion to all the clin­i­cal tri­als in­ves­ti­gat­ing the ef­fects of mu­sic in­ter­ven­tions on pain, we are see­ing an in­crease in the num­ber of mu­sic ther­a­pists who work in the med­i­cal and hos­pice care set­tings,” Lee told Reuters Health by email. “Of course, th­ese pro­fes­sion­als work on a va­ri­ety of clin­i­cal goals in ad­di­tion to pain man­age­ment, but it def­i­nitely is one of the ma­jor goals.”

Lee re­viewed 97 ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­als con­ducted be­tween 1995 and 2014 that in­cluded a to­tal of 9,147 par­tic­i­pants. Most tri­als in­volved mu­sic ther­apy, which typ­i­cally in­volves in­ter­ac­tions with a mu­sic ther­a­pist, while a hand­ful of tri­als looked at mu­sic medicine, which mainly in­volves ex­po­sure to “pre­re­corded mu­sic ex­pe­ri­ences” se­lected for their ef­fects, Lee writes in the Jour­nal of Mu­sic Ther­apy. The tri­als ex­am­ined those ef­fects on par­tic­i­pants’ sel­f­re­ported pain in­ten­sity, emo­tional dis­tress from pain, vi­tal signs and amount of pain re­lief med­i­ca­tion taken. Many stud­ies let par­tic­i­pants choose the type of mu­sic they wanted to lis­ten to, of­ten in­clud­ing clas­si­cal, easy lis­ten­ing, new age, slow jazz and soft rock. A quar­ter of the tri­als used mu­sic se­lected by re­searchers. On av­er­age, par­tic­i­pants lis­tened to about 38 min­utes of mu­sic dur­ing the ex­per­i­ments.

Over­all, peo­ple get­ting the mu­sic in­ter­ven­tion in their trial rated their pain in­ten­sity about one point lower on a zero to 10 scale af­ter mu­sic ses­sions com­pared to groups that got no mu­sic. But the re­sults were not con­sis­tent among all stud­ies, Lee notes. Seven of the stud­ies found a sig­nif­i­cant de­crease in anes­thetic use in mu­sic groups com­pared to non-mu­sic groups. There were sim­i­lar small but sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in stud­ies ex­am­in­ing use of opi­oid and non-opi­oid painkillers, but there was no dif­fer­ence in seda­tive use. Heart rate, blood pres­sure and res­pi­ra­tion rate were all found to be lower among par­tic­i­pants in mu­sic groups in some stud­ies. Mu­sic stim­u­lates ad­di­tional senses other than pain re­cep­tors, which at­tracts pa­tients’ at­ten­tion, and re­lieves stress and anx­i­ety with its sooth­ing qual­ity, Lee said. “In ad­di­tion, mu­sic ther­a­pists pro­vide var­i­ous mu­sic ex­pe­ri­ences with spe­cific clin­i­cal in­tent to pro­mote a sense of hope and con­trol, to ac­tively re-di­rect pa­tients’ at­ten­tion, and to sup­port pa­tients to ac­tively cope with their ill­ness,” he said. “Mu­sic medicine and mu­sic ther­apy are not meant to be al­ter­na­tive forms of ther­apy, rather they are pro­vided as a com­ple­men­tary treat­ment to ex­ist­ing care,” he said.

Mu­sic may dis­tract and re­lax pa­tients, said Dr. John Mar­shall of the Univer­sity of Mis­souri School of Medicine in Columbia, Mis­souri, who was not part of Lee’s re­view. “When we did our mu­sic study in colonoscopy pa­tients many years ago, we were giv­ing pa­tients light se­da­tion,” Mar­shall said. “The pa­tients were awake dur­ing their pro­ce­dures. The mu­sic seemed to be a help­ful ad­junct to im­prov­ing the pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ence.” To­day, most colonoscopy pa­tients are mod­er­ately to heav­ily se­dated, so mu­sic dur­ing the pro­ce­dure may not mat­ter as much, though pleas­ant back­ground mu­sic prior to the pro­ce­dure makes sense. “There are many things to con­sider when de­vis­ing a mu­sic pro­gram for pa­tients, so I would rec­om­mend con­sult­ing a mu­sic ther­a­pist when es­tab­lish­ing a mu­sic medicine pro­gram,” Lee said.

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