Music May Reduce Pain and Anxiety for Surgery Patients
According to a new study, listening to music before, during and after an operation can help to reduce the pain the patient experiences. The review, published in The Lancet, took place at Queen Mary University of London and involved around 7,000 patients.
Researchers compared the effects of listening to music with factors such as routine care, headphones with no music, white noise and undisturbed bed rest. While patients’ recovery time was not affected, music was found to make them feel less anxious and need less pain medication.
Listening to music before surgery seemed to have the biggest impact, but results showed that music even seemed to have a positive effect when played while patients were under general anaesthetic.
The researchers suggest that having patients select their own music to listen to is particularly effective because it provides them with a comforting sense of familiarity.
“Music is a non-invasive, safe, cheap intervention that should be available to everyone undergoing surgery,” says lead researcher Dr Catherine Meads of Brunel University. “Currently music is not used routinely during surgery to help patients in their post-operative recovery. The lack of uptake is often down to the scepticism of professionals as to whether it genuinely works, and of course the issues of budget and the integration into daily practice. We hope this study will now shift misperceptions and highlight the positive impact music can have.”
However, Dr Meads also notes that it’s important that music does not interfere with a medical team’s communication. Further research is planned to fully investigate the pros and cons of introducing music to surgical settings.
A Department of Health spokesman says that surgeons should take note of these new findings. “This is very interesting research. We hope doctors consider the findings closely, because we want patients to have the best experience and recovery possible when they undergo surgery.”