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Music for Pain Treatment? Take Two Ibuprofen—and Some Mozart…

Study Suggests Listening to Music Offers Additive Benefit in Pain Care

The benefits of music therapy for pain have been explored for many years at PAINWeek. Now researchers from University of Utah Health report that augmenting pain medication with music may offer an effective complementary modality for pain treatment. Working with mouse models, the research team established that accompanying ibuprofen with music enhanced analgesia by more than 90%. Pairing music with cannabidiol and with galanin analog NAX 5055 was accompanied by reductions in inflammation of 70%. Senior author Grzegorz Bulaj, PhD, associate professor in medicinal chemistry at U of U Health, remarked, “We know these drugs work without music, but they can produce toxicity and adverse effects. The holy grail is to combine the right drug with this new paradigm of music exposure, so we do not need as much drug for analgesic effects.” The findings were made available online yesterday in the journal Frontiers in Neurology.

In the study, mice were subjected to 2 pain models, 1 simulating inflammatory pain and 1 simulating surgical pain. They were then categorized into a music intervention group and a control group. The former listened to 3 x 3-hour segments of Mozart for 21 days, while the latter heard only ambient noise. In 4 separate trials, both groups received a suboptimal dose of either ibuprofen, cannabidiol, levetiracetam, or the galanin analog NAX 5055. When accompanied by music, the ibuprofen treated mice showed a 93% reduction in inflammatory pain response compared to the similarly dosed control group (no music). Pairing music with either cannabidiol or NAX 5055 reduced swelling in the inflammatory pain model by 21% and 9% respectively. Dr. Bulaj continued, “If we could package music and other nonpharmacological therapies into mobile apps and deliver them with drugs and it works, it will be better than drugs alone. It is exciting to find new ways to improve pain treatments.”

Read about the study.

The journal article may be read here.