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Musical Notes with Julia: Supporting Pain Management

Dear Residents, Families, and Friends,

This past month, I attended a music therapy course that highlighted interesting new research related to the use of music therapy to support pain management. Chronic pain is a common health concern that affects millions of Americans including older adults. Music therapy is frequently employed to reduce acute, procedural, or chronic pain for individuals of all ages in a variety of settings.

In hospital settings, music therapy is often used to ease acute or procedural pain. This can be especially useful for helping pediatric patients feel calmer and more comfortable during a medical procedure. Music therapy may also reduce pain for individuals with cancer (Bradt et al., 2021). A recent study investigating the effects of music therapy on the quality of life of adults with Sickle cell disease concluded that a music therapy program supported participants in learning new skills to cope with pain at home (Rodgers-Melnick et al., 2022). The Music, Creativity and Wellness lab at Drexel University, led by Joke Bradt, PhD, MT-BC, is focused on researching the impact of music therapy interventions on chronic pain and pain management. The lab’s current research includes a study on “Group Music Therapy for Chronic Pain Management in Service Members with CoMorbid Chronic Pain and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.” You can read more about the lab’s research here.

While many studies suggest that music therapy may reduce the perception of pain, scientists are not entirely sure why. Researchers continue to probe the mechanisms involved in the pain-reducing effect of music and music therapy.

For more information on Music Therapy or Brain Wellness, contact Julia McCarren at jmccarren@kensingtonsl.com.

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