It can also make people feel more in control of their pain and less disabled by their condition, says the paper published in the UK-based Journal of Advanced Nursing. The researchers carried out a controlled clinical trial with sixty people, dividing them into two music groups and a control group.
The participants, who had an average age of 50, were recruited from pain and chiropractic clinics in Ohio, USA. They had been suffering from a range of painful conditions, including osteoarthritis, disc problems and rheumatoid arthritis, for an average of six and a half years.
"The people who took part in the music groups listened to music on a headset for an hour a day and everyone who took part, including the control group, kept a pain diary" explains nurse researcher Dr Sandra L Siedlecki from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio. "The first group were invited to choose their own favourite music and this included everything from pop and rock to slow and melodious tunes and nature sounds traditionally used to promote sleep or relaxation. The second group chose from five relaxing tapes selected by us. These featured piano, jazz, orchestra, harp and synthesizer."
The music groups reported that their pain had fallen by between twelve and 21 per cent, when measured by two different pain measurement scales. The control group reported that pain increased by between one and two per cent. People in the music groups reported 19 to 25 per cent less depression than the control group. The music groups reported feeling nine to 18 per cent less disabled than those who hadn't listened to music and said they had between five and eight per cent more power over their pain than the control group.
"Our results show that listening to music had a statistically significant effect on the two experimental groups, reducing pain, depression and disability and increasing feelings of power" says Siedlecki.
MEDICA.de; Source: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.