We all know that listening to a favorite song can improve our mood. Now, a new study shows that listening to music can play an important role in alleviating pain and helping in the recovery process following surgery.
The study, which was carried out by a team of researchers from several institutions–including Queen Mary University of London, Brunel University, and the BartsHealth NHS Trust–involved an examination of 72 randomized trials about the impact of music on pain. Researchers compared the way music impacted pain with medications specifically designed for pain relief.
Researchers found that listening to music visibly reduced pain associated with surgery.
In fact, those participants who listened to music required fewer painkillers and generally felt better than people who did not listen to music.
Overall, it’s clear music can play a big role in the healing process, notes neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin of McGill University. “Music puts us in a better mood and when you’re in a better mood, the brain releases neurochemicals and hormones that stimulate immune function,” noted Levitin, who was not involved in the study.
The key, Levitin says, is finding the music that a patient actually likes. Otherwise, the benefits may not be the same.
“There is increasing awareness that this is part of the menu of options available to doctors and patients for speeding recovery,” Levitin said. “The important point is there’s no one piece of music that everyone likes, so when you talk about music in the postoperative situation, you need to find the music that’s right for you.”