By Dr. Mercola
If you’re going to be undergoing a medical procedure, or you struggle with chronic pain, reaching for your playlist may be as good as reaching for a bottle of pain pills. The power of music for relaxation, stress relief, and pain reduction is undeniable, although individual research studies proving the same were too small to show a strong connection.
That all changed when researchers pooled the data from 73 randomized clinical trials focusing on the role of music among surgery patients. Researcher Dr. Catherine Meads at Brunel University told NPR:1
“As the studies themselves were small, they really didn’t find all that much… But once we put them all together, we had much more power to find whether music worked or not.”
Music Reduces Pain Before, During, and After Surgery
Given that music is non-invasive, safe, and inexpensive – and most people find it enjoyable – the researchers suggested hospitals should routinely offer it to patients. The study found music helped patients drop an average of two points on a 10-point pain scale, while also using significantly less pain medication.
This level of relief is comparable to that achieved by a dose of pain-relieving drugs. In addition to reductions in pain, less anxiety and more patient satisfaction were also noted.
Benefits were found when music was played before, during, or after surgery, and even music played while patients were under general anesthetic was effective. Although in many cases the patients themselves chose the music, music was beneficial regardless of the type of music played or who selected it.
About the only downside noted was that several studies found music played in operating rooms may make it harder for surgical staff to hear directions, potentially increasing the risk of errors. This can be remedied
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