Music can take the pain away, study finds
A recent study done at Glasgow Caledonian University found that people who were listening to their favourite music felt less pain and could stand pain for a longer period of time.
Pain researcher Laura Mitchell believes her research can make a difference in how people deal with chronic pain or deal with painful medical tests. "We want to give clinicians and health care professionals a means to make it more comfortable for patients. To take their minds off the scariness of being in hospital and the noise and people rushing about that can make you feel worse," she said.
Pain researcher Laura Mitchell has measured how people respond to pain with various forms of distractions, including relaxing music, listening to humorous audio tapes, doing math puzzles and looking at art.
"Favourite music has come out consistently, even to an extent that's really surprised me in designing these studies, as being extremely effective in how people can tolerate the pain and in actually reducing how much pain they feel," Mitchell said.
"In Europe now about one in five people suffer from chronic pain and they have it on average for seven years and two-thirds of them feel their medication just isn't enough to really give them the relief that they need."
"We were looking to see whether music would have an effect on people's tolerance of pain - to how long they could tolerate some kind of painful stimulus and also whether it would reduce the actual feeling, their actual pain perception for them and whether it would reduce the anxiety of human pain and whether it would help them feel a bit of control over pain they're going through," she said.
People reported their ability to distract themselves from pain more than doubled if they were listening to their favourite music, while their perception of the amount of pain they felt fell significantly.