Objective: To evaluate the influence of music therapy in hospitalized patients with chronic low back pain.
Methods: A controlled, randomized study (N = 65). During a stationary rehabilitation stay of 12 days, 65 patients with low back pain were randomized to receive on alternate months standardized physical therapy plus 4 music therapy sessions between day 1 and day 5 (intervention group; N = 33) or standardized physical therapy alone (control group; N =32). Scores for pain (as measured on a visual analogue scale [VAS]), disability (Oswestry index) and anxiety and depression (as measured on the hospital anxiety and depression scale [HAD]) were collected on day 1, 5 and 12. Pain intensity was also evaluated on a VAS just before and after music therapy sessions.
Results: Introduced music therapy sessions during a stationary rehabilitation stay in patients with chronic low back pain reduce pain (-2.0+/-2.7 vs -1.8+/-2.6) but not significantly. However, music therapy significantly (p < 0.01) reduced disability as measured on the Owestry index between day 1 and day 5 (-11.8+/-17.8 vs -2.5+/-9.4), anxiety (-3.5+/-3.7 vs -0.9+/-2.7) and depression (-2.1+/-3.0 vs 0.6+/-2.4). The immediate effect on pain intensity (VAS score) was confirmed (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Our results confirmed the effectiveness of music therapy for hospitalized patients with chronic low back pain. Music therapy can be a useful complementary treatment in chronic pain and associated anxiety-depression and behavioural consequences.