Music Therapy Reduces Pain in People Recovering from Spine Surgery

Music Therapy Reduces Pain in People Recovering from Spine Surgery

By Staff

A new study is pointing to using music therapy as a way to reduce pain in people recovering from spine surgery.  Researchers from The Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine, and the Mount Sinai Department of Orthopaedics compared a group of people recovering from spine surgery using standard postoperative care, to those who complimented that standardized care with music therapy. Their study was published in The American Journal of Orthopedics. 

“This study is unique in its quest to integrate music therapy in medicine to treat post-surgical pain” said John Mondanaro, the study’s lead author and Clinical Director of The Louis Armstrong Department of Music Therapy. “Postoperative spine patients are at major risk for pain management challenges.”

Postoperative pain was measured using the visual analog scale (VAS), and ratings were collected before and after music therapy in one group, and within the same time period in the control group.  In the experimental group, VAS pain ratings decreased by more than one point — from 6.20 down to 5.09.  The control group showed increased pain levels, from 5.20 to 5.87.

“The degree of change in the music group is notable for having been achieved by non-pharmacologic means with little chance of adverse effects,” said Joanne Loewy, DA, co-author of the study and Director of The Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine. “Pain is subjective and personal, and warrants an individualized approach to care. Certified, licensed music therapists are able to tailor treatment to each patient’s musical preferences and meet their pain level.”

Music therapists from the Louis Armstrong Center provided treatment options to each patient, including patient-preferred, live music that supported tension release/relaxation and joint singing and/or rhythmic drumming. Breathwork and visualization techniques were also offered.

Postoperative pain treatment, which is primarily pharmacologic, is a critical component of recovery, particularly during the immediate postoperative period, when pain and anxiety are prominently increased. For this study, researchers provided 30 spine surgery patients with a 30-minute music therapy session within 72 hours after surgery in addition to standard care. Another 30 spine surgery patients received standard postoperative care without music therapy. The 60 patients ranged in age from 40 to 55 years and underwent anterior, posterior, or anterior-posterior spinal fusion.

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Authored by: Staff

There are 5 comments for this article
  1. Ben Aiken Longtime at 3:08 pm

    Post operative spine patients are at major risk for pain management challenges” as published by the American Journal of Orthopaedics. This information was not made available to me 23 years ago before or after two major lower back surgeries. I advised that my pain level would decrease by about an 80% IF I had back surgery. I was and am a 58 year old builder It is my skill to earn my living. I took carpentry in high school as I was unable to “be educated” with college credentials. I have built many homes for people. When the surgeries did NOT improve my pain level and AFTER the orhthopaedic surgeon told me he could no longer provide pain medicine. to me post op, I had no where to turn to try to provide for my still young children. A friend of mine knew what I was going through so she told me of a group of doctors at the local hospital that would help me. A “pain management” clinic offered by a few of the doctors. I really thought they would teach me how to tone the muscles in the pain affected area or otherwise, I just did not know. I was IMMEDIATELY placed on an expensive drug, oxycontin. After several months of experimentation, many back infusions, injections and more drugs, I was at least able to keep working. After several years I was placed on methadone. It was like a miracle drug. It worked well. One 10 mg oral pill lasted all day. No “high”. No “fog’ in my thoughts. I stayed with the same doctor for 14 years. Presently I am with the second pain management doctor for over seven years. He announced the CDC “”””guideline”””and that the methadone prescribed to me would HAVE and MUST be reduced in dosage per day due to an “opioid epidemic”. OK, I’ll do my part.This was announced mid summer, 2016. December, 2016 I am informed by the same physician that I would have to be reduced to 2, that’s 20 milligrams of methadone per day. I at one time with the first doctor’ had been at 16, 160 mgs of methadone per day. At the second “clinic” I was reduced to 100 mgs per day with which I managed to stay employed. I was still able to provide for my family. I was still quite fit, I just had a little more pain to deal with. Now, presently I have been reduced to 20 mgs of methadone per day with no other pain medication supplements. I have and still use ice packs, heating pads, Kratom and CCBD oil (NOT FDA approved) Before opioid medication I went to a chiropractor, did physical therapy, home exercise, and everything BUT marijuana.Seeing that 20 mgs of methadone was just not helping me to provide for myself, the now doctor asked if I would change medications.I complied. I did not care with what I received enough medication to eat, pay my electrical buy, and buy food. I will NOT be able to function on the dosage and medication that I have been converted too. I have 23 years experience.

    By the way, I had been informed exactly “how” the “”””””guideline””””””operates. It was to BLACKMAIL our physicians into lowering ALL opioid medications. It did not matter if an individual had been a perfect patient, stable on their medication, or employed. That did not make a d@^N. At the point of life I am now, I am NOT able to keep working. My wife is disabled, no family, and the suicide rate is soaring. I have spent hundreds of dollars on “Kratom’, CBD oil without THC” as CBD marijuana and its’ products are not legal in my state.
    I, personally would MUCH rather be seen by a qualified decision who monitirs my health while being prescribe medication as to use pot.

    Friday morning, March 31st, on the CBS morning news, a segment about the “opioid epidemic” was aired. A line graft depicting the overdose rate in America was provided showing a steady 45 degree rise (on the chart) not sure when the beginning date was until present day. There was a parallel line depicting the suicide rate just a lower on the same graft just lower but rising paralleling the rising overdose rate line. At the point in time when the CDC “guideline” came into affect the overdose line took a fairly sharp decline and turned downward on the depicted chart. At the SAME point in time, the suicide rate took a very sharp rise intersecting the overdose rate This graft was indicative of ALL opioid use. It did NOT specify how much opioid use was illicit (heroin, etc) or prescribed medication for chronic pain, or acute pain.Either way, ANYONE that uses opioids whether for chronic pain or recreational is just NOT acceptable as per the CDC.

    My question is. Is DEATH by suicide more acceptable than death by opioids? It is to say we, (CDC, DEA, Government ) will not enable good Americans to kill themselves with medication. Not indicating whether by illicit opioids or by prescribed opioids, the most overdose was occurring. It is as we( Government) will allow death by suicide but, it is not acceptable if death by overdose happens. Of course neither is a positive way to expire. I along with doctors, statisticians, and people with chronic pain KNEW the suicide rate would increase because severe, continuous pain can not be bore by mere human beings. Pain is used to torture government agents into relinquishing national “secrets” along with ANY information needed by unscrupulous people.

    Non cancer chronic pain folks need SUFFICIENT medication if they have exhausted all other means of pain relief. The CDC “conversion chart” has everyone on an equal dosage basis, supposedly. People have different weight, different metaboloism, and their pain threshold varies!!! HOW, without an informed, well documented, proper study do the folks behind the “guideline” actually KNOW how much medication an……INDIVIDUAL needs? When starting on pain medication as a last resort, the intensity and dosage may be relatively, the same. Now, one of the downfalls of opioid medication is the fact that as one progresses in life prescribed opioid medication, the human body adapts to the foreign induced pain medication and requires an adjustment of a higher dosage or more intense opioid medication to a certain level. The level of dosage and intensity CAN be achieved. I have been on a dosage of 100 milligrams per day of methadone ( which metahdone incidentally has been d@^ned by CDC) for six, years. I take NO other pain medication. Methadone is inexpensive, works well, no high, and is readily available. Medication has come under the money factor. Not enough profit. I’ll tell you why. In my state we have methadone clinics. As long as you bring your money to the clinic, you can receive as much as 200 milligrams or more per day IN ONE SINGLE DAILY DOSE. Who goes to the clinic? People who MAY drug problems. People who have to sort of “finance” their daily pain medication need on a daily basis. People who do not have medical insurance. People that my have ben released from pain management. They have NOT been closed and nor should they be. People get hurt. They develop severe arthritis and other painful disease and can NOT afford insurance but, are NOT willing to use illicit drugs.

    Final point. Pain medication is used just as insulin, blood pressure medication, and or mood stabilizers to provide a better, way of life whether totally disabled or not. Some of the mentioned medication is supplied whether one can afford it…..or not. Not with pain medication because we ALL are abusers! CDC, DEA need seek out “pill mills if that concerned about overdose. Our physicians are ethical, morally sound, and do NOT wish to have their license to practice medicine revoked. That is why a physician should make the decision as to the dosage AND type of medication prescribed to a chronic pain patient, period. NOT government.The CDC can NOT change the way an individual “thinks” or conducts themselves by damming up the much needed opioid medication for chronic pain. Tying good physicians hands by blackmailing them into compliance with the CDC “””””guideline””””” and the “conversion chart” for opioid medications is about the most ignorant, sadistic method to solve ANY overdose by opioid death EVER. WILL the CDC kill people by suicide or amend the misguided attempt to “whip” people into shape? I along with MILLIONS of other Americans are guilty of ZERO abuse with what was sufficient medication so we can live. Not neccesarily thrive but just live.WE have COMPLIED with our physicians pre-guideline prescribing of opioid medication or I would NOT have been a patient and received sufficient medication for 2 decades. ALL pain patients are NOT equal with regards to chronic pain but, CDC must know something we don’t. PLEASE let me know how to control chronic pain so I may stay employed and live! When the decision of “how” to treat AMERICAN patients with chronic pain has been removed from our very capable physicians hands, what’s next, Loguns Run? Death when an American becomes 30 years old because we have outlived our usefulness?Berlin authoritarianism 1930’s and 40’s until democracy prevailed? Give back the authority to treat patients to our doctors, not by a board of directors in Atlanta. Ideals, recreational “highs”, drug abuse, and other negative aspects of social and personal behavior can NOT be controlled by those “who know best”!!! Music for post op back surgery is an idea, suicide due to insufficiently, uncontrolled pain is a reality!! Last Note. Will those who “could work” and earn a living get fast tracked to disability payments when no longer able to provide form themselves instead of the 3 years or more ….wait….. at least in my state. Will chronic pain and the inability to work even be considered a disability. Hades has arrived, at least for 10 million or so good Americans.

  2. Laura P. Schulman, M.D. at 2:55 pm

    This merely corroborates an existing body of evidence that music is a good ADJUNCT to pharmacologic pain management.

    It is not a substitute. In our present climate of hysteria lest every major trauma patient leave the hospital an “addict,” we unfortunately must be careful when offering clinicians “alternatives” to opioid based pain management.

    And I never go anywhere without my headphones 🙂

  3. connie at 1:17 pm

    I now have heard it all! I am certainly not interested in listening to music when I am in severe pain! When an appropriate level of pain medication has had a chance to take effect and I am in the right mood for listening to music I can relax and enjoy it but once again some fool even suggesting that music that is most likely to cost a fortune since you have to use a licensed professional for treatment isn’t likely to do anything more than make thst person a wad of money! I enjoy many types of music but many like my husband do not so offering music therapy to someone who doesn’t enjoy music would be stupid! Since most if not all of these studies are paid for with my tax dollars I get angry when I hear of this kind of ridiculous study!

  4. Denise Bault at 8:47 am

    Music has and always will soothe the soul…

  5. Jean Price at 4:00 am

    I think music is sort of a distraction therapy…something to register in your senses so pain doesn’t…as much. The problem with distraction therapies for those with persistent, daily pain is that the pain is usually increasing the whole time! And then it flattens you! It seems all research these days is designed with ONLY one thing in mind….HOW TO AVOID OPIOIDS, no matter what!! It would make more sense to approach pain research as finding an ADDITIONAL approach to pain relief! And not EXCLUDING ANY of the others available now! Like here, when they measured the success of not “requiring” pain medication for a reduction of pain…which seems to make this research a little biased, I think! Why wouldn’t just measuring the patient’s report of their pain relief be enough? Plus, their numbers for relief really didn’t seem to be all that much to brag about! Less than one point in each category!! One point could be the difference between 9 and 8…still not livable in a daily basis!!

    Used as an ADJUNCT THERAPY, I have no doubt that music helps! Yet it isn’t THE ONLY answer overall! Some music actually can increase pain, I’m guessing! I know some is MUCH less relaxing or LESS uplifting than others for me! Wow, this just made me think of something….I hope they don’t ever resort to restricting the TYPES of music we can listen to for pain, also! Wouldn’t that be almost as ridiclous as what is happening now!??