Music, anxiety and the reduction of pain

Listening to music can be an effective way to reduce pain felt by high-anxiety individuals. This is the suggestion of new research published in The Journal of Pain, which found this form of distraction is beneficial to those who easily become absorbed in cognitive activities.

Investigators from the Pain Research Center at the University of Utah - which was founded in 1850 and serves more than 31,000 students - looked at how music could be used for diverting psychological responses and found tunes have the ability to shift cognitive focus from pain.

The authors considered a total of 143 subjects for the study and discovered music can offer a meaningful intellectual and emotional engagement to help reduce these feelings.

In addition, they suggested the interaction of anxiety and absorption suggests these personality traits should be looked at when coming up with different ways in which the issue of pain relief can be addressed. 

Jeremy Horwood, a psychologist from the University of Bristol, commented: "There is growing interest in this field of study. I am currently undertaking a pilot randomised controlled trial looking at the use of music during surgery to reduce pain and anxiety."