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Pain? Stress? Depression? Turn up the Tunes!

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Wellness related image Photo: Getty Images

Ever hear that song on the radio that just gets you pumped? You turn it up, sing your heart out, and feel some kind of therapeutic relief?

The fact is, multiple studies show that listening to music can help to reduce pain, anxiety, and depression, and make people feel more in control and less disabled by their conditions. The best part — there are no chemicals, no doctor visits, and no side effects!

One study that researched the effect of music on pain and depression, found that music can reduce chronic pain by 21 percent and depression by 25 percent!

This study comprised 60 people that had been recruited from pain and chiropractic clinics. Participants had various chronic pain conditions for an average of six and a half years.

Forty of the participants were divided up into two music groups (one that listened to music of their own choosing, and the other that had music chosen for them), and the remaining 20 were in a control group who did not listen to music.

Music group participants reported a 12-21 percent decrease in pain, while the no music group reported a 1-2 percent increase in pain.

In addition, individuals in the music group reported feeling 18-25 percent less depressed, and 9-18 percent less disabled by their conditions. The music helped decrease pain but more importantly promoted feelings of empowerment and control.

As if these gifts weren’t enough, another study even proved that listening to music significantly reduced stress levels in coronary disease patients.

One study concluded that listening to music could decrease heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety in heart patients — individuals who were physiologically effected by the stress and anxiety associated with their conditions.

Out of 23 studies that included a total of 1,461 patients, listening to music provided relief of anxiety and stress by lowering blood pressure and heart rate.

Although a significant mood change wasn’t seen in those with depression, a positive mood change was seen in some. Only 2 of the 23 studies used actual music therapists for music listening and treatment.

So how does it work?

Add a Comment2 Comments

That's fantastic! I'm so glad that music has been a useful tool for you. Music is one of my most favorite things, and the fact that it can truly help and change peoples' lives really shows us that it's something worthwhile. It's been around for so long, it's about time it got some decent recognition! :)

February 11, 2012 - 5:44pm

Thank you for this article, music really does make a difference to the moods that we experience. I am using music to help me while meditating. I live with chronic pain and now when I go into theatre to have nerve blocks, (I need to remain awake while needles are being inserted in to my lower back region so that I can let surgeon know when he is close to offending nerve = PAIN) I have received permission to take my iPod in to theatre so that I can use music to assist my meditation practices, thus reducing pain levels. I ALS use music to assist me in falling off to sleep. When needing to ward off depressive emotions, I turn up the stereo and dance while doing chores.
I think that it is easy to say, for me, music is a significant part of my world and while it cannot cure pain or depression it is certainly a worthwhile tool in assisting in managing the difficult times while also helping in the celebration of life itself.

February 10, 2012 - 5:56am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.