Whether you like rock, jazz, soul, pop, hip-hop or classical, good news is that music can help you after you’ve had surgery. A new study has found that listening to your favorite tunes while doctors are operating on you will reduce pain and anxiety.
Catherine Meads, lead author and doctor from Brunel University (United Kingdom), gave a statement in a press release saying that “Music is a non-invasive, safe, cheap intervention that should be available to everyone undergoing surgery. Patients should be allowed to choose the type of music they would like to hear to maximize the benefit to their well-being”.
However, she did go on to warn that people need to take care and make sure that the music in the operating room does not make it hard for the medical team to communicate with one another. She suggested that music may be played through a background sound system, a pair of headphones or a musical pillow.
What’s more, music doesn’t necessarily have to be played during surgery, if that proves to be too inconvenient for the doctors. Dr. Meads and her team have concluded that music is just as effective if it’s played before a patient undergoes surgery, during surgery, or after they’ve had surgery.
For their study, the British team conducted a meta-analysis. They looked at 72 previously conducted studies, which added up to a total of 7.000 patients. Their goal was to assess how effective music is in helping patients deal with pain and recover from surgery, in comparison to other, more traditional methods such as medical drugs or massages.
The results showed that surgery patients who listened to music either before, during, or after surgery, reported feeling less anxiety, less pain, required fewer painkillers, and were a lot more satisfied with their care.
But here’s the catch. When a patient was allowed to choose what songs they wanted to listen to, they reported feeling less pain and anxiety than when doctors chose the songs for them.
It’s also worth mentioning that those who listened to music before undergoing surgery experienced slightly less pain than those who listened to music during surgery or after surgery.
Music proved to be so effective that even listening to it while under general anesthesia still reduced pain and anxiety. It didn’t quite help patients as much as it did when they were conscious during surgery, however it did take away some of the pain.
The study has been well received in the medical community. Dr. Ron Marino, associate chair of pediatrics over at Winthrop-University Hospital (Mineola, N.Y.), gave a statement calling music a powerful tool and saying that it has deep roots in every culture and civilization on the planet. He firmly believes that music is deeply wired into the human soul and brain.
He is happy that Dr. Meads and her team have found yet another nontraditional, non-pharmacologic method of helping patients reduce pain and anxiety, and offer them a better medical experience.
And Dr. Martin Hirsch from Queen Mary gave a statement of his own explaining that the medical community has known about the healing power of music since “the time of Florence Nightingale”. The only thing that the new study did was finally prove it.
The findings were published earlier this week, on Wednesday (August 12, 2015), in the medical journal The Lancet.
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