Music Helps Patients Cope With Surgery, Research Shows

By Dr. Mallika Marshall, WBZ-TV
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Dr. Mallika Marshall, WBZ-TV Medical Reporter Dr. Mallika Marshall
Dr. Mallika Marshall is WBZ-TV News’ Medical Reporter and contributes...
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BOSTON (CBS) — They say music soothes the soul, but it can also soothe pain following surgery.

Surgery, by nature, is stressful.

Patients are usually nervous before they go under the knife, and then wake up in pain.

Surgery in progress. (WBZ-TV)

Surgery in progress. (WBZ-TV)

Now, new research suggests music can help in a patient’s recovery.

Researchers reviewed more than 72 studies about the effect of music before, during, and after surgery.

They found that listening to music not only reduces anxiety, but also eases pain.

Dr. Robert Jamison, a clinical psychologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, treats patients for chronic pain and says he is not surprised.

Dr. Robert Jamison. (WBZ-TV)

Dr. Robert Jamison. (WBZ-TV)

“Right around the time of surgery, people tend to be very anxious,” he says. “Music can help people relax. It helps people to be distracted, and it probably stimulates certain pleasure parts of the brain that makes people feel better.

“So, it has a lot of factors that would make sense in terms of helping through surgery and recovery from surgery.”

The effect is even greater if patients like the music they’re listening to, so patients should help pick the songs.

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