Music lessens pain and anxiety in patients undergoing surgery

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Music can reduce the anxiety and pain of invasive surgery, according to an analysis of all relevant randomized controlled trials published since 1980.

Ninety-two trials with a total of 7385 patients were included in British Journal of Surgery analysis. Music interventions significantly decreased anxiety and pain compared with controls, equivalent to a decrease of 21 mm for anxiety and 10 mm for pain on a 100-mm visual analogue scale.

There was no significant association between the effect of music interventions and age, sex, choice and timing of music, and type of anaesthesia.

"This result makes it now possible to create guidelines for the implementation of music interventions around surgical procedures," said lead author Dr. Rosalie Kühlmann, of Erasmus MC–Sophia Children's Hospital, in The Netherlands.

Explore further

Music for the eyes

More information: A. Y. R. Kühlmann et al. Meta-analysis evaluating music interventions for anxiety and pain in surgery, British Journal of Surgery (2018). DOI: 10.1002/bjs.10853
Provided by Wiley
Citation: Music lessens pain and anxiety in patients undergoing surgery (2018, April 24) retrieved 18 January 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Apr 24, 2018
Considering that some kinds of music can actually cause pain in normal healthy individuals the authors of this article might consider being more specific ~ there is music AND there is music!! For instance 'Cannibal Corpse' do not set out relax their listeners...

Apr 24, 2018
It is a reasonable assumption that the reader of the article would assume *relaxing music* in various styles ~ rock ballad, classical mood music and so on. But a literal interpretation of the text would reveal an error: backing music for movies, for instance, can alarm, frighten, increase tension and anxiety and evoke all possible negative (with respect to relaxation) emotion.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more