A new study using a mouse model has explored the effectiveness of music therapy to alleviate two kinds of pain
The findings of the study undertaken by a research team from University of Utah Health in Salt City have been printed in journal, ‘Frontiers in Neurology’. Effect of music was analyzed on two models of pain; plantar incision replicating surgical pain and carrageenan model mimicking inflammation linked pain.
The study found that playing selective pieces of Mozart in combination with four pain relieving medications helped to reduce responses to pain to a great extent. Inflammation medicines when administered alone failed to produce effective results.
Research using mouse models and music therapy is not new. Several studies in this context have been done in the past with interesting results. Music intervention has positively impacted the physiology, immunology and mental abilities in mice. What is needed is the right combination of the best suited drug and music exposure so that overall the drug is needed in smaller quantities to give the desired analgesic effect.
Several theories were laid down by researchers to explain this music-effect phenomenon. Music works on several levels like on the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, cortisol levels, opioid receptors, pro-inflammatory cytokines, parasympathetic tone and the dopaminergic system. More research is required to lay down exactly the mechanisms involved in the process.
Some limitations of the study were also laid open such as the different frequencies of listening in mice as compared to humans, exclusion of neuropathic pain, exposure to limited music sections and restricted pick of control group. Though the study has given some interesting results it has also led researchers to ponder on several ‘what-if’ instances. If there had been variation in the music styles, if the period of per day and total music exposure were to be lengthened etc.
Though, there is still a long way to go before doctors can prescribe specific playlists to enhance effectiveness of their drug prescription, the results of this study definitely prove exciting.