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Testing Music Therapy for Pain

In May, I blogged about study that indicated that listening to an hour of music a day can reduce the physical and psychological affects of chronic pain. Participants in the study who listened to music each day reported reduced pain levels up to 21%. They also had up to a 25% reduction in associated depression.

So I’ve been testing it out myself. I haven’t been strict about listening to an hour every day, but most days I know that I have music play for at least an hour and usually more. I’ve even expanded the artists I listen to. My loyalty is still primarily to Dave Matthews (acoustic with awesome guitarist Tim Reynolds, on his solo album, and solo on taped live shows) and the Dave Matthews Band, but I’ve also been listening to a new genre, Men With Husky Voices and Guitars: John Butler Trio, Jack Johnson and Ben Harper.

Back to the point. My pain levels haven’t changed overall, but I feel less pain when music is playing than when it’s off. Just as books distract me from the pain, music lets my attention go elsewhere. And I can still get other things done while I’m engaging in this sort of therapy.

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Music as Medicine

Something as simple as listening to an hour of music a day can reduce the physical and psychological affects of chronic pain, according to a recently published study.

In addition to potentially reducing pain by up to 21 percent and depression by 25 percent, this therapy can help patients feel like they are in control of their pain and that they are less disabled.

This applies to all music, not just that specifically for relaxation. It makes sense. Listening to harp music an hour a day would make my hair stand on end, but I can never get enough Dave Matthews.

In fact, my Dave Matthews obsession is so strong that I almost never listen to anything else. I’m more than a bit embarrassed by this and have tried to become obsessed with other artists (which doesn’t work too well). What it comes down to is that his voice makes me smile. And what’s better than music that makes you happy?

So now I have a medical reason to listen to indulge for at least an hour a day (not like I needed one). I’m going to chart my pain levels for a while and see if there is a correlation. Let me know what you find if you try this with your favorite musicians.