Context: Treatment of pain in palliative care patients is challenging. Adjunctive methods of pain management are desirable. Music therapy offers a nonpharmacologic and safe alternative.
Objectives: To determine the efficacy of a single music therapy session to reduce pain in palliative care patients.
Methods: Two hundred inpatients at University Hospitals Case Medical Center were enrolled in the study from 2009 to 2011. Patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups: standard care alone (medical and nursing care that included scheduled analgesics) or standard care with music therapy. A clinical nurse specialist administered pre- and post-tests to assess the level of pain using a numeric rating scale as the primary outcome, and the Face, Legs, Activity, Cry, Consolability Scale and the Functional Pain Scale as secondary outcomes. The intervention incorporated music therapist-guided autogenic relaxation and live music.
Results: A significantly greater decrease in numeric rating scale pain scores was seen in the music therapy group (difference in means [95% CI] -1.4 [-2.0, -0.8]; P<0.0001). Mean changes in Face, Legs, Activity, Cry, Consolability scores did not differ between study groups (mean difference -0.3, [95% CI] -0.8, 0.1; P>0.05). Mean change in Functional Pain Scale scores was significantly greater in the music therapy group (difference in means -0.5 [95% CI] -0.8, 0.3; P<0.0001) [corrected]: A single music therapy intervention incorporating therapist-guided autogenic relaxation and live music was effective in lowering pain in palliative care patients.
Copyright © 2013 U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.