Music therapy to reduce pain and anxiety in children with cancer undergoing lumbar puncture: a randomized clinical trial

J Pediatr Oncol Nurs. 2010 May-Jun;27(3):146-55. doi: 10.1177/1043454209355983.


A nonpharmacological method can be an alternative or complement to analgesics.The aim of this study was to evaluate if music medicine influences pain and anxiety in children undergoing lumbar punctures. A randomized clinical trial was used in 40 children (aged 7-12 years) with leukemia, followed by interviews in 20 of these participants. The participants were randomly assigned to a music group (n = 20) or control group (n = 20). The primary outcome was pain scores and the secondary was heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation measured before, during, and after the procedure. Anxiety scores were measured before and after the procedure. Interviews with open-ended questions were conducted in conjunction with the completed procedures. The results showed lower pain scores and heart and respiratory rates in the music group during and after the lumbar puncture. The anxiety scores were lower in the music group both before and after the procedure. The findings from the interviews confirmed the quantity results through descriptions of a positive experience by the children, including less pain and fear.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Child, Hospitalized / psychology
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / complications
  • Leukemia / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Qualitative Research
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spinal Puncture / adverse effects*
  • Spinal Puncture / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vietnam
  • Vital Signs