Your favorite tunes may hold the key to music-induced pain relief
(NaturalHealth365) Have you ever noticed that every time you put on your favorite playlist, your mood improves, and you focus more on enjoying the moment? The music-listening experience is a powerful distraction that soothes and relaxes. But the benefits of music do not end there.
Researchers with McGill University recently published results of a pain study in Frontiers in Pain Research detailing how listening to one’s favorite music decreases the intensity and unpleasantness of pain. The hope is that the enhanced understanding of the power of music facilitates the development of pain therapy using sound.
Researchers explore the power of music in easing physical pain
Intriguing research zeroes in on the question of whether music serves as an effective pain-relief method, providing a drug-free alternative. This melodic approach surprisingly helps reduce pain perception, a phenomenon scientifically known as hypoalgesia, by disrupting the pain signal pathway before it registers in our conscious minds.
Let’s dive into the study’s intricacies to uncover how the right tunes can make a tangible difference in pain management.
Tune in for pain relief: Can your favorite music really ease the pain?
The question begs: what specific types of music reduce pain sensation? The researchers found each participant’s favored music has a significant impact on acute thermal pain lessening. The researchers also introduced relaxing music that the participants had not heard before. The results showed unfamiliar yet relaxing music mitigated pain less than listeners’ favorite tunes. The researchers also determined each individual’s unique emotional response played a considerable role in determining whether music reduces pain.
To determine which types of music were most effective at decreasing pain, study participants were provided with thermal stimulation of moderate intensity. The moderately painful stimulation was applied to the inner part of the forearm, creating a sensation similar to when a hot cup of coffee is pressed against the skin. Each stimulus was tied to an excerpt of music that lasted nearly seven minutes.
When juxtaposed with complete silence or control tracks, the experience of listening to one’s favorite music greatly reduced pain intensity. The researchers even went as far as replicating music with unorganized tones and still found the listening experience lessened pain. Therefore, it can be concluded that the distractive component of music or its mere presence as a source of audio stimulation is not the cause of hypoalgesia. Rather, it is the musical component of audio that mitigates pain.
It is particularly interesting to note that one’s preferred style of music also impacts pain sensitivity during the listening experience. Those who listened to emotional, bittersweet, or otherwise moving music reported feeling pain that was less unpleasant than those who listened to other music genres. The researchers also noted bittersweet music that evokes emotion spurs “musical chills” that thwart the transmission of pain signals. Musical chills often take the form of goosebumps, shivers, or tingling sensations.
Discover other natural pain relief alternatives
While music emerges as a compelling way to alleviate pain, it’s not always practical to keep your favorite tunes playing. Instead of resorting to potentially addictive pain medications, explore a treasure trove of natural alternatives that can help you combat pain.
One such approach involves modifying your diet to eliminate foods that trigger inflammation. So, eliminating soda, fried foods, and processed (flour) products is a wise first step. In their place, welcome anti-inflammatory choices like organic cherries, garlic, spicy hot peppers, and wild-caught salmon. These foods not only tantalize your taste buds but also help to reduce the risk of inflammation and chronic pain.
In your quest for natural pain relief, don’t forget the potential of herbal remedies. Ginger and turmeric, both readily available, have earned their reputation as effective pain relievers. Turmeric, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, complements soups and stews with its distinctive flavor and pain-reducing abilities.
Meanwhile, ginger boasts gingerol, a bioactive compound renowned for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and pain-relieving attributes. Whether you add it to homemade soup, or savor it in soothing herbal teas, ginger can be a delectable and natural companion in your fight against chronic pain.
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