The Effect of Perioperative Auditory Stimulation with Music on Procedural Pain: A Narrative Review


Current Pain and Headache Reports




PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Music therapy has seen increasing applications in various medical fields over the last decades. In the vast range of possibilities through which music can relieve suffering, there is a risk that-given its efficacy-the physiological underpinnings are too little understood. This review provides evidence-based neurobiological concepts for the use of music in perioperative pain management. RECENT FINDINGS: The current neuroscientific literature shows a significant convergence of the pain matrix and neuronal networks of pleasure triggered by music. These functions seem to antagonize each other and can thus be brought to fruition in pain therapy. The encouraging results of fMRI and EEG studies still await full translation of this top-down modulating mechanism into broad clinical practice. We embed the current clinical literature in a neurobiological framework. This involves touching on Bayesian "predictive coding" pain theories in broad strokes and outlining functional units in the nociception and pain matrix. These will help to understand clinical findings in the literature summarized in the second part of the review. There are opportunities for perioperative practitioners, including anesthesiologists treating acute pain and anxiety in emergency and perioperative situations, where music could help bring relieve to patients.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Pain; Procedural Pain; Pain Management and Control; Music and Cognition; Music Medicine

Indexed Terms

Pain; Analgesia; Acoustic Stimulation; Active inference; Acute pain; Bayes Theorem; Nociception; Pain pathways; Procedural Pain; Perioperative care

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