A Randomized Controlled Trial of Music for Pain Relief after Arthroplasty Surgery


Pain Management Nursing: Official Journal of the American Society of Pain Management Nurses




PURPOSE: Effective pain management for patients undergoing orthopedic surgery, using pharmacological and nonpharmacological strategies, is essential. This pilot study evaluated music as an adjuvant therapy with prescribed analgesics to reduce acute pain and analgesic use among patients undergoing arthroplasty surgery. DESIGN: Prospective randomized controlled trial of 50 participants scheduled for arthroplasty surgery at a large university-affiliated hospital. METHODS: Participants were randomly assigned to treatment (music and analgesic medication; n = 25) or control (analgesic medication only; n = 25) groups. The intervention consisted of listening to self-selected music for 30 minutes, three times per day postoperatively in hospital and for 2 days postdischarge at home. Participants rated pain intensity and distress before and after music listening (treatment group) or meals (control group). Analgesic medication use was assessed via medical records in hospital and self-report logs postdischarge. RESULTS: Forty-seven participants completed the study. Participants who listened to music after surgery reported significantly lower pain intensity and distress in hospital and postdischarge at home. There were no statistically significant differences in analgesic medication use after surgery between groups. CONCLUSIONS: Study findings provide further evidence for the effectiveness of music listening, combined with analgesics, for reducing postsurgical pain, and extend the literature by examining music listening postdischarge. Music listening is an effective adjuvant pain management strategy. It is easy to administer, accessible, and affordable. Patient education is needed to encourage patients to continue to use music to reduce pain at home during the postoperative recovery period.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Pain; Postoperative Pain; Surgery; Orthopedic Surgery; Pain Management and Control; Pain Intensity; Medication Use; Analgesic Intake; Pain Score or Rating; Self-Report Measures; Surgical Patients; Postoperative Patients; Music Medicine; Music Listening; Recorded Music LIstening

Indexed Terms

Pain Management; Aftercare; Arthroplasty; Postoperative Pain; Patient Discharge; Pilot Projects; Prospective Studies

Study Type

Randomized Controlled Trial; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID

PMID: 33129705

Document Type