Does Music Help Manage Chronic Pain?

Using Music as Pain Relief Therapy

Whether you prefer Beethoven or Taylor Swift, there’s evidence to suggest that the music you like may work as a non-surgical spine therapy to help you manage your chronic pain. The concept of using music to soothe patients isn’t new–it’s the reason why you often hear background music in doctor and dentist offices. However, there is some concrete evidence to suggest that music can also take your mind off of any chronic pain you may be experiencing.

Distracting the Brain with Music

A study conducted by researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark involving patients with chronic muscle and joint pain showed that individuals listening to music reported less instances of pain than those who did not listen to music. One of the reasons for these results is the way in which music distracts the brain. When listening to music, your brain instinctively tries to find patterns and predict the musical structure, effectively giving the brain something else to do other than register pain.

Music Therapy to Deal with Chronic Pain

Fears of doing something that may aggravate chronic pain and make physical therapy sessions less productive afflict some patients. Music may be the key to countering the anxiety that often goes along with chronic pain, as evidenced by the success of programs like those supported by The Children’s Music Fund, a non-profit group that supplies instruments to children, teens, and young adults for music therapy as a distraction from their pain and anxiety.

Less Dependence on Pain Medication

Taking too many pain medications increases the risk of experiencing side effects or potentially dangerous drug interactions if you’re not careful with how you take your medications. Finding natural relaxation and distraction through music may eliminate the need for so many pain medications, which can also prevent issues with addiction often associated with long-term use of painkillers.

Essentially, music puts up “roadblocks” on the pathway that pain takes to the brain, preventing the brain from processing pain due to the distraction of enjoyable music. Regardless of the science involved, the bottom line is that anything that can make you think about something else besides your pain is sure to be a welcomed relief.

If you’ve exhausted all conservative treatment options and chronic pain is affecting your quality of life, turn to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Our experienced team of physicians specialize in spine treatments, including non-surgical options and motion-preserving spine surgeries. Call us today at (310) 828-7757 and request an in-person consultation.