As James Brown sings, “I Feel Good”—and so may patients recovering from spinal surgery when they participate in music therapy, according to researchers from Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine and the Mount Sinai Department of Orthopaedics.

The study, published in The American Journal of Orthopedics, notes that spinal surgery patients (average age: 40 to 55) who participated in music therapy saw a decrease in their postoperative pain, compared to a control group of patients who received standard postoperative care alone.

In the study, music therapists from the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine provided 30 spine surgery patients with a 30-minute music therapy session within 72 hours after surgery in addition to standard care. The sessions including patient-preferred, live music that supported tension release/relaxation and joint singing and/or rhythmic drumming. Breathwork and visualization techniques were also offered, according to a media release from The Mount Sinai Hospital/Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Another 30 spine surgery patients received standard postoperative care without music therapy.

The researchers collected visual analog scale (VAS) pain ratings before and after the music therapy sessions and within the same time period in the control group. In the control group, VAS pain levels increased slightly, from 5.20 to 5.87. In the experimental group, however, VAS pain levels decreased by more than one point, from 6.20 to 5.09.

“The degree of change in the music group is notable for having been achieved by non-pharmacologic means with little chance of adverse effects,” says Joanne Loewy, DA, co-author of the study and director of The Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine, in the release.

“Pain is subjective and personal, and warrants an individualized approach to care. Certified, licensed music therapists are able to tailor treatment to each patient’s musical preferences and meet their pain level.

The patients who participated in the study underwent anterior, posterior, or anterior-posterior spinal fusion, per the release.

[Source(s): The Mount Sinai Hospital/Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Science Daily]