Jazz music: The new post-op pain management treatment?

Jazz music and designated periods of silence may emerge as tools in post-operation pain management, according to research presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists 2014 meeting.

Researchers at Penn State Milton S. Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center studied the effect of jazz music and noise cancelling headphones on patients who underwent elective hysterectomies. Half of the patients listened to jazz upon recovery, and the other half wore the noise cancellation headphones.

Physicians tested heart rate, blood pressure and pain and anxiety levels right after surgery and then at regular intervals during the 30-minute intervention period. After 20 minutes, patients listening to jazz had lower heart rates than patients who wore noise cancelling headphones, but patients wearing the headphones reported lower pain scores than jazz listeners after just 10 minutes.

"The goal is to find out how we can incorporate this into our care," said Flower Austin, DO, anesthesiology resident at the hospital and lead author of the study. "We need to determine what kind of music works best, when we should play it and when silence is best. But it's clear that music as well as silence are cost-effective, non-invasive and may increase patient satisfaction."

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