Using Music to Interrupt the Cycle of Chronic Pain


Ruth McCaffrey


Journal of Pain Management




Chronic pain affects more persons than cancer and heart disease. Chronic pain increases the risk for depression and decreased coping, especially in the elderly, further increasing the cost of care. The psychological and emotional components of chronic pain are often not addressed in the treatment plan. An overview of chronic pain and literature to support the use of music to decrease the perception of pain in community-dwelling adults with chronic osteoarthritis pain and in hospitalized adults who have higher levels of acute pain after hip and knee surgery due to long periods of chronic pain preceding surgery is presented. The results of several randomized controlled trials are reviewed in depth. Results from these studies demonstrate decreased pain, improved ability to ambulate after surgery and fewer episodes of post-operative acute confusion in older adults who listened to music compared with those who did not. Music, therefore, has the ability to reduce chronic pain in older adults with osteoarthritis. Selecting appropriate music for listening should be based on patient preference. Music is a safe, non-invasive, inexpensive and easy-to-use intervention that should be added to the treatment plan for older adults with chronic pain. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Acute Pain; Chronic Pain; Confusion; Elderly; Hospital Setting; Hospitalized Patients; Mobility; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Orthopedic Surgery; Osteoarthritis; Pain; Pain Management and Control; Postoperative Patients; Recorded Music Listening; Surgery; Surgical Patients

Indexed Terms

music listening; chronic osteoarthritis pain; pain perception; older patients; Chronic Pain; Arthritis; Geriatric Patients; Pain Management; Surgical Patients

Study Type

Editorials, Opinions, Position Papers

PubMed ID


Document Type