Music is known to have healing power and is widely utilized as a therapeutic tool to manage chronic pain and neurological disorders. Music therapy is defined as an evidence-based and clinical use of interventions related to the musical experience. It is generally recognized that music greatly assists in managing pain, stress, anxiety, and depression. Music interventions are associated with decreasing symptoms of chronic pain and eliminating negative psychological outcomes in patients with chronic diseases.
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Music is recognized to be a part of patient treatment by many cultures since ancient times. This therapeutic approach ensures comfort, relaxation, and healing. It is applied in hospitals, palliative care nursing homes, in psychiatry and oncology departments, and during various medical procedures to activate immune functions, increasing quality of life and body resistance, as well as for moral recovery. Such intervention is cost-effective, easy to apply, and does not provoke any adverse effects. It is emphasized that music activates changes in the endocrine, neuropeptide, and immune systems, as well as in the mind-body process (Korhan et al. 307).
Music therapy is provided by licensed specialists and can include music-supported therapy such as playing musical instruments for patients who undergo motor rehabilitation therapy. Therapeutic intervention is understood as listening to special music to affect changes in analgesia or vital signs. Nurses also often play music in the patient’s presence with a therapeutic purpose. It is stated that music is important in maintaining the health care environment and establishing proper therapeutic milieu for healing (Supnet et al. e2). Relaxing music played in the operating room also has positive effects on patient outcomes.
Utilizing music is reported to decrease narcotic requirements and postoperative agitation in critically ill patients who suffer from cardiovascular diseases. Some researchers note that “music has been associated with decreased anxiety, pain, and agitation in patients receiving mechanical ventilation” (Supnet et al. e3). It also greatly assists in the rehabilitation of stroke patients who are known to have multiple cognitive, emotional, and consciousness disorders. Thus, music is an additional component of hypnotic and sedative medications applied during mechanical ventilation in individuals with acute stroke to prevent them from self-harm and reduce the effect of negative experience.
Music interventions are also used to manage various symptoms in patients who suffer from cancer. They help to reduce stress and anxiety during radiation therapy and chemotherapy, as well as treat pain and mood disorders. It is emphasized that “on a neurophysiological level, listening to music may reduce anxiety through suppressive action on the sympathetic nervous system” (Bradt et al. 1262). Its mood-enhancing and pain-reducing effects are related to amygdala mediation. Therefore, it is possible to say that music helps an individual to focus on something pleasant and soothing and distracts from a stressful event. It gives an opportunity to escape temporarily from the reality of cancer treatment.
It is a general opinion that music playing and music-making as a part of therapy provides a positive psychological impact on the patient. Such experience allows investigating emotions applied in the creative process and use music-evoked reflections for the benefit of the patient. Usually, a therapist gives an opportunity to process verbal emotions and thoughts raised by the music. Such an approach as music medicine allows a patient to give a list of one’s music preferences for a therapist to create an individualized playlist. The patient is required not to be engaged in other activities while the music is playing. It should be noted that the patients who value the creative aspect of music therapy and therapeutic relationship appear to benefit more from such activity.
Music therapy is also noted to have a positive effect on patients who suffer from neuropathic pain. This disease is complex and involves serious pathophysiological mechanisms in the central and peripheral nervous systems. It is usually associated with partial dysfunction of the nervous system and defined as acute pain in such areas as the brain, peripheral nerves, and spinal cord. It is crucial to ease the pain in individuals who suffer from this disorder to improve their life quality and reduce complications and hospitalization periods.
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Usually, neurotic pain is controlled by pharmacological methods such as analgesic treatment. Still, this approach has multiple negative effects as they have some undesirable physiological side effects and can lead to the development of medication tolerance. Music therapy is stated to be a part of the cognitive-behavioral approach to the treatment of this disease, which can be used as an additional method along with pharmacological management (Korhan et al. 307).
The given research dealt with investigating the role of music therapy in the treatment of serious chronic conditions. It was found that music has overall beneficial effects in decreasing pain, stress, depression symptoms, and anxiety in patients with such severe diseases as cancer, cardiovascular disorders, and neuropathic pain. Various types of music therapy were explored. The benefits of playing music in hospitals, operation rooms, and medical interventions were examined. It is possible to say that music therapy is a cost-effective and natural method that greatly assists in the management of diverse diseases as an additional tool.
Bradt, Joke, et al. “The Impact of Music Therapy Versus Music Medicine on Psychological Outcomes and Pain in Cancer Patients: A Mixed Methods Study.” Supportive Care in Cancer, vol. 23, no. 5, 2015, pp. 1261-1271.
Korhan, Esra Akın, et al. “The Effects of Music Therapy on Pain in Patients with Neuropathic Pain.” Pain Management Nursing, vol. 15, no. 1, 2014, pp. 306-314.
Supnet, Charlene, et al. “Music as Medicine: The Therapeutic Potential of Music for Acute Stroke Patients.” Critical Care Nurse, vol. 36, no. 2, 2016, pp. e1-e7.