Music Has the Power to Calm, Soothe and Relieve Pain
Hospitals around the country are using music therapy as a way to ease a patient’s pain, lower blood pressure, and reduce anxiety and depression, allowing patients to heal faster. Thirty-five percent of healthcare facilities in the US offer music, of some form, to their patients.
An article in the journal, Pain Physician, indicates that music functions effectively to alleviate both chronic pain and related depression. In general, music was used in combination with other, more conventional pain treatments, rather than as a standalone substitute. Music that listeners find emotionally engaging seems to affect the brain’s opioid system, which control both physical pain and the pain of social loss.
The article concluded that music reduces self-reported pain, anxiety, and depression symptoms in patients with chronic pain and that it tends to be more effective when patients select their own music.
Other studies have demonstrated the positive effect of music on psychological stress and associated effects on heart rate variability, an important predictor of cardiovascular risk. Heart rate variability is variation in the time interval between heartbeats.
Researchers don’t know the specific reason music soothes our pain, but some studies suggest it influences brainwaves, diverting attention from signals of pain and distress. When we listen to music, our brain releases dopamine, which is a feel good chemical essential for the healthy functioning of the central nervous system. Dopamine influences emotion, perception, and movement.
The present trend in healthcare is toward self-management of conditions. By employing your own music therapy, you may be able to reduce your reliance on drugs for pain management. In the future, we could be getting a prescription not just for traditional pain management drugs and therapies, but also for music therapy.