Music's use for anesthesia and analgesia

J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Apr;19(4):298-307. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0235. Epub 2012 Sep 18.


This review article provides an overview of published data regarding the involvement of music in anesthesia practice. Music is an important topic for research in different fields of anesthesiology. The use of music preoperatively is aimed at reducing anxiety, stress, and fear. However, the effect of music on perception of pain intraoperatively is controversial, according to studies of both adults and children undergoing various surgical procedures under general and/or regional anesthesia. In postoperative pain management, postanesthesia care, and neonatal intensive care, music can be a complementary method for reducing pain, anxiety, and stress. Music is a mild anxiolytic, but it is relatively ineffective when a pain stimulus is severe. However, music is inexpensive, easily administered, and free of adverse effects, and as such, can serve as complementary method for treating perioperative stress and for acute and chronic pain management, even though music's effectiveness depends on each individual patient's disposition and severity of pain stimulus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia / methods*
  • Analgesia / psychology
  • Anesthesia* / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Critical Care / methods
  • Humans
  • Music Therapy*
  • Music*
  • Pain Management / methods
  • Pain, Postoperative / therapy*
  • Perception
  • Perioperative Care / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / psychology
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*