Listening to Music Can Aid in Pain Relief, Especially When Anxiety Involved

Music Can Provide a Distraction and Pain Relief

Listening to music can provide a distraction that can help to relieve pain finds a new study published by researchers from the University of Utah Pain Research Center in The Journal of Pain, a publication of the American Pain Society.

For the study, 143 subjects listened to music tracks, following the melodies and listening for deviant tones. During the music tasks, the volunteers were given safe levels of pain shocks using fingertip electrodes. While listening to music and distracted by the activities, the volunteers experienced less pain during the shocks

When the brain senses injury to the body, pain signals that begin in the somatosensory cortex and the hypothalamus work their way downward through the “pain pathway”, ultimately sending signals that provide pain relief. There are also signals that stimulate the release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins, dynorphins, and enkephalins. Music appears to help in pain reduction by activating these sensory pathways.


Music is one alternative therapy that is studied for pain relief, primarily for its ability to distract the patient from the discomfort. This new research finds that it is especially beneficial to those with high anxiety levels about the pain, such as when doctors are giving vaccines or performing painful procedures that must be done without anesthesia. Music also has the ability to soothe, inspire, energize and uplift a person, which may be beneficial to those with chronic pain who need to learn coping techniques.

Currently, there are approximately 5,000 trained music therapists that work with patients in pain management centers, hospitals, clinics, senior centers, and rehabilitation facilities in the United States. Those who use music therapy to cope with chronic pain tend to require less pain medication, have significant improvements in clinical markers such as respiration, blood pressure, and heart rate, and also tend to have an improved quality of life.

Source Reference:
David H. Bradshaw, Gary W. Donaldson, Robert C. Jacobson, Yoshio Nakamura, C. Richard Chapman. Individual Differences in the Effects of Music Engagement on Responses to Painful Stimulation. The Journal of Pain - December 2011 (Vol. 12, Issue 12, Pages 1262-1273, DOI: 10.1016/j.jpain.2011.08.010)

Image Credit:

You May Also Like:
Music Therapy Soothes Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Music Therapy May Reduce Anxiety, Increase Quality of Life in Cancer Patients


Please, click to subscribe to our Youtube Channel to be notified about upcoming health and food tips.


Interestingly, a recent survey reveals that most of the addicted pain killer patients begun taking the medicines under medical supervision only. Pain killer addiction is mostly occurs with the chronic pain patients. They feel need of the pain killers extremely whenever the pain is little more than tolerance. The quick action pain relievers strike on the pain in the right manner. These are no doubt fast relief options by relaxing a patient considerably. While doctors believe any sort of addiction is more psychological, pain killer addiction is mostly for chronic pain management. Steven Hawkins
I'd like to see this survey. In fact, very few (fewer than 6%) chronic pain patients become addicts, unless there was a previous addiction problem. (This is from the August, 2010 symposium held by the International Association for the Study of Pain). There is a difference between addiction and dependence and good researchers know the difference.
Steven, or whoever wrote this, I am surprised. I find the comment narrow minded, offensive, and confusing. Chronic pain is overseen by a physician, pain specialist, counselors, and sometimes nutritionists. It is true Doctors treat severe, continual,chronic pain with pain medicine. Usually titrating the meds to see what works, what doesn't, and also other modalities - acupressure, massage, meditation, change of diet, change of outlook, and possibly surgery. To say taking pain med when pain is just over tolerable sounds like you might be surrounded by people who get migraines then get rebound migraines as a result of overdoing imitrex, and some type of caffeine. I can speak from direct knowledge, there are times when a person taking long acting pain med and short acting, can have an exacerbation of pain. It comes on quick and kicks your butt; vomiting,going to bed with an electric blanket over the area, crying, and wishing you could scream. This type of excess pain is very difficult to get under control. I don't agree chronic pain patients are addicted. I believe they are dependent. To say addicted is implying taking the meds in excess, trading, selling, snorting, or shooting up. I believe defendant is COMPLETELY different than addicted. I think steven would know how to spell his last name: HAWKING