Can Listening to Music Relieve Pain?

A growing number of researchers are starting to use music in clinical settings as an analgesic to pain. At the very least, it takes the patient’s mind off of the pain (think music to relieve painearbuds during a long jog), and now scientists are trying to determine whether or not it actually reduces the pain sensation.

In a recent study at the Univeristy of Utah, through the study of pupil dilation and brain activity, scientists discovered that as patients became more focused on the music, they experienced a greater relief from physical pain. The biggest effect was seen on those who were anxious about what they were experiencing physically. Other studies have had similar findings, demonstrating that those that were engaged in “music therapy” required less morphine for their pain than those that were not.

Ultimately, more research is needed to see if the effect of music can be significant alter the levels of pain, or if it is more of a helpful distraction.

Jennifer De Francisco, MPA, MSW, LCSW, provides couples counseling, depression counseling and psychotherapy in Newport Beach, Irvine and Orange County. If you are interested in making a consultation with her, please contact her at (949) 251-8797.

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