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  • Bobby Dimovski

The Role of Music in Pain Management

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report that an estimated 50 million Americans, or just over 20 percent, have some form of chronic pain. If you’re living in pain you likely have tried many different approaches to relieve your pain, but have you tried music?

Music has been used for centuries to help with pain management. Just think of all the times you have heard people say "this song always reminds me of my mother" or "my grandma loved this song." Music is an emotional response in a person that can be evoked when someone hears it. Research has found that music used as a clinical intervention can help patients by reducing the amount of pain they perceive, promoting relaxation, rhythmic breathing, and rest. Music therapy can be beneficial to chronic pain sufferers and other challenges faced by these individuals.

Music Therapy in Pain Management: How It Works

Music therapy works in chronic pain management by providing sensory stimulation that evokes a response in the patient. Research has found that music used as a clinical intervention can help patients by:

  • Reducing the amount of pain they perceive

  • Promoting relaxation, rhythmic breathing, and rest

  • Alleviating anxiety and stress

  • Giving their mood a positive boost

In pain management, there have been many studies that show how listening to music can relieve a variety of different types of pain conditions. This is called Music-Induced Analgesia (MIA). One study found among patients with chronic osteoarthritis who listened to music daily for two weeks reported less pain in their joints and muscles

What is music therapy and how should you use it?

Music therapy is a form of clinical intervention that can be used for different purposes and in various settings. The therapeutic use of music relies on the principle that there is scientific evidence that demonstrates the potential benefits to using it as a coping mechanism when dealing with physical pain, stress, depression, or other ailments.

When it comes to pain, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But music has been shown to help with everything from chronic back pain and arthritis symptoms to lower stress levels for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Music therapy may be a good option for you or someone in your life who is struggling with physical discomfort as well as emotional distress. The team at ANA Pain Management is here to help answer any questions you may have when it comes to pain management and controlling your symptoms. Call or visit us online today to learn more.


McCaffrey R, Freeman E. Effect of music on chronic osteoarthritis pain in older people. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2003;44(5):517–524.

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