The Negative Implications Of Music: The Anagesic Effects Of Pain

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Music has been harnessed for its healing properties since some of the earliest forms of civilization, yet the actual science behind musical palliation has been largely unexplored and has remained enigmatic. In the modern era, however, behavioral scientists have begun to uncover exactly how music can serve to help mitigate or manage pain. In the medical world, this is known as music-induced analgesia, or audioanalgesia, which is the relief of perceived pain through the use of music. Both experimental testing and clinical studies have proven that music can be a salubrious method for treating pain; the potency of its analgesic effects are determined by the pleasantness of the music (known as its valence), personal preference, music type, and the…show more content…
Valence describes the pleasantness or unpleasantness of music, which is subjective to listeners and thus will differ person to person. However, overall, pleasant music with a positive valence has been shown to be far more effective in audioanalgesia than music with a negative valence. This is evidenced in a study in the Journal of Pain, which sought to determine whether differences in music valence alters the perception of pain intensity (Roy, Peretz, & Rainville, 2008). Participants were exposed to a thermal application while listening to either pleasant music, unpleasant music, or no music at all. Participants who listened to no music and participants who listened to what they judged to be unpleasant music reported no change in pain, but the participants who listened to music they found pleasant were shown to have significant reductions in pain. Roy et al. found that the more positive the valence of the music, the more pain was reported to be decreased. This, once again, reveals that music can influence perceived pain and that favored selections of music are more effective at reducing…show more content…
However, whether or not the analgesic benefits can be applied in the real world to people who must endure pain every day is the most important question. That’s why scientists such as Finlay (2014) have taken the testing directly to people living with chronic pain in order to determine if music-induced pain relief could be introduced as a valid, long-term pain relief option. In Finlay 's study, thirteen participants, all of which suffered from chronic pain, were instructed to listen to music fifteen minutes every day for twenty-eight days. They reported pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, and numerical pain scores both before and after listening to their choice of music track. In the reports immediately following the fifteen-minute daily music period, pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, and pain scores were significantly lower across all participants. However, no cumulative reductions were observed across weekly pain assessments, suggesting that the effects of music-induced analgesia are only short-term and do not stack. Nonetheless, when applied frequently and consistently, music can efficiently reduce pain and unpleasant sensations, and thus has the potential to be a cheap chronic pain symptom

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