Pain Awareness - Music Therapy



How Music Therapy Helps Relieve Arthritis Pain

Music can help you relax and distract you from thinking about what hurts.

By Beth W. Orenstein

Medically Reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD

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Whether you're playing an instrument or singing a song, music therapy is a great drug-free way to deal with arthritis pain.
Whether you're playing an instrument or singing a song, music therapy is a great drug-free way to deal with arthritis pain.
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When 73-year-old Shirley Livingston was recuperating from a knee replacement at the Cleveland Clinic’s Euclid Hospital in January 2015, a music therapist came to her room and played the flute for 30 minutes each day. Livingston, of Lake County, Ohio, is convinced that the music significantly helped soothe her pain.

"There’s no doubt in my mind” that it was the music and not medication, Livingston says, because she refused to take anything stronger than aspirin.

Research shows she may be right. Music is one nursing intervention that has been shown to help elderly people with arthritis control their pain, according to a review on this topic published in 2012 in . French researchers also found that music alleviated pain and anxiety in people who underwent joint lavage for knee osteoarthritis. One group of lavage patients listened to recorded music, and one group did not. Those who listened to music reported lower levels of anxiety and pain, found the study, which was published in Clinical Rheumatology in 2012.

People get lost in the music, which allows them to relax and feel less pain, explains Lisa Gallagher, a music therapist and music therapy program manager at the Arts &MedicineInstituteattheClevelandClinicinOhio.Gallaghersaysmusictherapycanbeusedforpostoperativepainandforchronicconditions,likejointpainfromvariousformsofarthritis.

Thebrainhaslimitedcapacitytofocusonseveralstimuliatanyonetime,explainsXueliTan,PhD,assistantprofessorofexpressivetherapiesatLesleyUniversityinMassachusetts.“Shiftingpatients’focusfromthepainstimulitothemusicstimulicanhelplowertheirperceptionofpain,”Dr.Tansays.

HowMusicTherapyWorks

Gallaghergivesherpatientsachoiceofinstrumentsthey’dliketohearandencouragesthemtomakemusicwithheriftheycan.Somesing; some play. Every patient is different, she says, which is why it’s important to ask the patients to choose the type of music they like best. All types of music, even heavy metal, can work if that’s what the patient wants, she says.

The music can be live or recorded. The advantage of using live music, Tan says, is that the music therapist can adjust the tempo of the music during the session in response to the patient's observable behavioral changes, such as a slower respiratory rate. But there's a benefit with recorded music, too. “The advantage of using recorded music is that the patients can use the same piece of music at home as a cue for eliciting the relaxation response,” she says.

RELATED: How to Keep Arthritis Pain From Affecting Your Mood

Sessions with a certified therapist are about more than just sitting down and listening to music, Gallagher says. In hospital visits, she asks patients to rate their pain, anxiety, depression, shortness of breath, and mood at the beginning and end of each session. She says this provides a way to measure outcomes. Therapists are also there to help patients process the music and work through their emotions, “which helps them to cope without leaving them worked up or upset,” Gallagher says.

With Music Therapy, Consistency Is Key

How long does the effect from music therapy last? “We haven’t been able to pin down the length,” Gallagher says. “But we know for some it lasts quite a while, and for others, as soon as something triggers the thought of pain, it’s back.” In her 10 years of music therapy experience, Gallagher says she has found that just one session can be effective in reducing pain levels in some people.

But the more you do it, the more you’ll get from it. “It’s like learning to play an instrument," she says. "With practice, it’s going to be better.”

Sessions can be as brief as five minutes or as long as 90 minutes. Costs vary too, from provider to provider and from one region of the country to another, but an individual session averages about , Gallagher says.

Insurance may cover some music therapy if it's prescribed by a doctor, is part of a documented treatment plan, and the patient shows improvement, according to the American Music Therapy Association. If music therapy is part of your hospital stay, it’s likely to be covered, Gallagher says.

How You Can Find Trained Practitioners

If music therapy interests you, use a board-certified music therapist, Gallagher advises. The American Music Therapy Association can provide you with a list of these therapists in your area. The Certification Board for Music Therapists also has a searchable database.

Livingston still uses music at home to help her manage her arthritis. And the physical therapists who have helped her recover from her knee surgery are pleased. “They tell me I’m way ahead of schedule, and my surgeon has released me and told me I don’t need to come back,” she says.






Video: Arthritis Pain Relief : Hip Range-of-Motion Exercises

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Date: 12.12.2018, 09:21 / Views: 84553