The effects of music intervention in the management of chronic pain: a single-blind, randomized, controlled trial

Clin J Pain. 2012 May;28(4):329-37. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e31822be973.


Objective: A music intervention method in the management of pain was recently developed while taking account of recommendations in the scientific literature. The objective of this study was to assess the usefulness of this music intervention to the management of patients with chronic pain.

Methods: A controlled, single-blind, randomized trial was used. Eighty-seven patients presenting with lumbar pain, fibromyalgia, inflammatory disease, or neurological disease were included in the study. During their hospitalization, the intervention arm (n=44) received at least 2 daily sessions of music listening between D0 and D10, associated with their standard treatment, and then pursued the music intervention at home until D60 using a multimedia player in which the music listening software program had been installed. The control arm received standard treatment only (n=43). The end points measured at D0, D10, D60, and D90 were: pain (VAS), anxiety-depression (HAD) and the consumption of medication.

Results: At D60 in the music intervention arm, this technique enabled a more significant reduction (P<0.001) in pain (6.3 ± 1.7 at D0 vs. 3 ± 1.7 at D60) when compared with the arm without music intervention (6.2 ± 1.5 at D0 vs. 4.6 ± 1.7 at D60). In addition, music intervention contributed to significantly reducing both anxiety/depression and the consumption of anxiolytic agents.

Discussion: These results confirm the value of music intervention to the management of chronic pain and anxiety/depression. This music intervention method appears to be useful in managing chronic pain as it enables a significant reduction in the consumption of medication.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Chronic Pain / complications
  • Chronic Pain / psychology*
  • Chronic Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents