Music helps block your perception of pain signals. You can’t focus on opposing sensations simultaneously, and when you’re in pain music helps to change your focus. Anxiety heightens the pain, and music also helps to reduce anxiety. You get in tune with the vibration, rhythm, harmony and melody of music, which changes your metabolism, helping to engender more positive feelings and sensations.

The Journal of Advanced Nursing published a study showing that listening to music for an hour a day reduced chronic pain by up to 21 percent and depression by up to 25 percent.

How Music Eases Pain

There are several theories to explain the way music eases pain, even though it’s unclear exactly how this happens.

  1. Music distracts the attention.
  2. Music causes the body to release endorphins (the feel-good hormones).
  3. The body gets in sync with the music. For example, breathing, heartbeat and other bodily functions slow down along with slow music, which results in relaxation, which in turn eases the pain. Faster music with an uplifting rhythm helps the body change to a faster pace for exercising or energetic activity.

The next time you’re at the dentist or doctor’s office, ask to have some relaxing music played.  Or bring your own favorite relaxing music. You’ll likely reduce your level of pain, and be able to have less pain medication. If you’re having trouble falling asleep because of pain, put on some slow soothing music. Concentrate on the music and soon your breathing will adjust to the tempo of the music and your pain will lessen or go away. Harp music is ideal for this type of relaxation.

When you don’t seem to have the energy to “get up and go” or exercise because of pain, try  listening to music with a faster beat — something that makes you want to clap your hands or dance. Focusing on that music can make you forget your pain, and you’ll soon feel like moving along with the rhythm of the music.