Music, relaxation can complement pain medicine

c: harp, piano, synthesizer, orchestra, or slow jazz. Then researchers verified that study participants were able to use the music and relaxation properly. After surgery, the relaxation, music, and combination groups used earphones to listen to tapes during ambulation and rest, while the control group did not.

The study showed that the three treatment groups had significantly less pain than the control groups at all measurement points during ambulation and rest on the first and second days after surgery.

Traditionally, pain has not been adequately relieved following surgery. Patients often forget or are reluctant to press the button on their PCA pumps for fear of dependence or side effects such as drowsiness and nausea. Relaxation and music have no side effects, and the results of this study promise reduced pain and possibly less need for opioid medication.

Acute pain reminds us that we have had surgery and must allow ourselves time to recuperate, Good said. Ambulation, although painful, is important for recuperation, because it can prevent complications. Unrelieved pain may contribute to complications, however. Therefore, pain can and should be controlled, not prolonged. It is harder to reduce pain the longer it goes untreated.

Both medication and self-care methods are needed for relief, Good said. This study showed that during both walking and rest, patients who used relaxation, music, or the combination along with their medication had less pain than those who used medication alone. Good recommends that physicians and nurses encourage patients to use relaxation and music with medication to control post-operative pain.


Contact: Kathleen McDermott
Case Western Reserve University

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