Exploring the Use of Vibroacoustic Treatment for Managing Chronic Pain and Comorbid Mood Disorders: a Mixed Methods Study

Elsa A. Campbell
Jouko Hynynen
Birgitta Burger
Esa Ala-Ruona

Abstract

Introduction: Chronic pain is a worldwide issue with common comorbidities of depression and anxiety, altogether inhibiting one's personal relationships and capability to work. Music has long been used as a means to improve pain and mood, and the tactile application of music has shown promising and beneficial results for the treatment of both psychological and physical symptoms. VA treatment uses low-frequency sinusoidal sound vibration (20-120 Hz) supported by client-preferred music listening and therapeutic interaction.Methods: Using mixed methods, this study addresses the addition of a self-care VA intervention to maintain the effects of practitioner-led VA treatments and to increase patients' independence in managing their symptoms. After baseline measurements, VA treatment was delivered to five patients at a rehabilitation unit by a trained VA practitioner, followed by self-care at home and a washout phase with no treatments. Quantitative outcome measures included Visual Analogue Scales for pain and mood, and Beck's Depression Inventory and the anxiety subscale of Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Qualitative data comprised practitioner clinical notes and participant evaluation forms.Results: Quantitative outcomes suggest VA treatment is beneficial for pain and mood relief and that a self-care intervention has the potential to prolong positive outcomes. Qualitative findings suggest that patients found the sessions at the hospital useful and empowering but the self-care treatments comparatively weak.Discussion: Future studies may address the difficulty in conducting self-care and the importance of the client-practitioner relationship in supporting this activity for those suffering from chronic pain and comorbid mood disorders.