Music & its Effects on Chronic Pain

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Enjoying music has been proven to change people’s moods but some scientific studies show that it may not be limited to just your emotional health. In 2014, a study done at the University of Denmark showed a change in physical pain tolerance among Fibromyalgia patients that participated in listening to their favorite music and monitoring their pain over time.

Even as recent as 2019, scientists were discovering the healing benefits of music on mice and found that playing Mozart reduced the mice’s pain response to simulated inflammation and acute surgery pain.

Daily pain medication is a reality that many chronic pain sufferers live with, along with their side effects. While a music playlist can’t totally replace the pain medication chronic pain sufferers take to manage their discomfort, scientists are hopeful it may lessen the need for them, even slightly over time, which may mean good things for patient’s overall health and quality of life in the future.

Here are some ideas about how to implement music into your daily routine and enjoy the benefits:

  1. Make a Travel Mix – In the warmer months, it’s natural to feel the urge to get out and enjoy Spring and Summer, but for some chronic pain sufferers it’s not as easy as packing up and jetting out. If you’re limited in how far you can travel picking a playlist of your favorite songs to enjoy even if it’s just a quick drive can make things a lot more exciting and enjoyable. Just make sure you keep an eye on the speed limit!
  2. Your Own Personal Soundtrack – If traveling isn’t really an option for you, you can still spice things up at home or work by setting a music theme for the day based on how you want to feel. Want to have a refined, relaxing day? Perhaps some classical music. Want to feel bright, bubbly and neon? 80’s pop might be for you. Want feel like a hardboiled detective cracking a case and recovering a priceless artifact? Some moody noir jazz is your best bet and that sounds amazing!
  3. Listen to one album beginning to end – With so many of our favorite songs streaming on demand it’s hard to remember that those songs are part of a bigger picture. Pick an artist who has written a song you really enjoy and take some time to listen to the entire album it came from. You might end up deepening your appreciation even more and finding some new favorites.
  4. Share with a friend – One thing that chronic pain sufferers know is that it can be isolating sometimes. We’ve all heard of book clubs, why not a music club? Reaching out to friends, family, or fellow music fans to trade suggestions and recommendations or have listening parties, even virtually, is a great way to connect and get the benefits music has to offer.

With all the potential mental and physical benefits, music is a great addition in your chronic pain toolkit.


Peer Health can connect you with a personalized peer community to share provider recommendations, treatment options, and define your best life. Sign up for our beta and newsletter today.

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