Music has the power to motivate, inspire, and heal a broken heart, but new research suggests that the right song could also relieve the pain caused by a back injury. The study from Mount Sinai Hospital and Medical School suggests that music therapy may be implemented as an integral part of spinal injury recovery treatment.
The new study, published online in The American Journal of Orthopedics, found that patients recovering from spine surgery reported less pain when they also received music therapy, as opposed to those who received only traditional rehabilitation treatment. Music therapy treatment ranged from patient to patient, consisting of either live music, joint singing, and/or rhythmic drumming. Results suggest that it may be beneficial to offer more music therapy options for recovering surgery patients as a way to help them deal with post-surgery pain.
"This study is unique in its quest to integrate music therapy in medicine to treat post-surgical pain," said John Mondanaro, the study's lead author, in a recent statement. "Postoperative spine patients are at major risk for pain management challenges."
For the study, 60 patient pain ratings, as based off the visual analog scale, were collected both before and after music therapy. One group of patients had 30 minutes of music therapy in additional to traditional postoperative care, while the control group only received the traditional postoperative care, which primarily includes drugs. Results showed a notable difference in the post-therapy pain rating between the group that received music therapy and the control. Patients ranged in age from 40 to 55 years old, and underwent a variety of different spinal operations.
Past research has also suggested that music therapy may be an effective way to help patients deal with depression. A 2014 study found that children and young people with depression who received music therapy reported increases in their self-esteem, improvements in their communication and interactive skills, and overall had reduced symptoms of depression compared to young patients who only received traditional depression treatment.
Source: Mondanaro JF, Homel P, Lonner B, et al. Music Therapy Increases Comfort and Reduces Pain in Patients Recovering From Spine Surgery. The American Journal of Orthopedics. 2017