A new research has found that listening good music for 30 minutes or short audio books after major surgery can significantly reduce pain in children of age group 9-14 years.

“Audio Therapy is an exciting, inexpensive opportunity and should be considered by hospitals as an important strategy to minimise pain in children undergoing major surgery. This is inexpensive and doesn’t have any side effects,” explained study senior author Santhanam Suresh, professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine (known as Northwestern Medicine).

Indian origin Suresh, conducted the study with his daughter, Sunitha Suresh, who actually first had the idea that songs could heal the pain in kids.  She was a biomedical engineering student at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science then.

The research was conducted over 60 paediatric patients. Suresh with her daughter evaluated their pain before and after giving an audio therapy. For the study, researchers divided children into three groups, first group heard music for their choice for 30 minutes, second heard 30 minutes of short audio books and third group were kept in complete silence via noise cancelation headphones.

Researchers found that the children in first two group reported significant reduction in pain. However, children who were kept in silence didn’t experienced reduction or any change in pain.

According to Santhanam, the audio-therapy helped thwart a secondary pathway in the prefrontal cortex involved in the memory of pain.

“The idea is, if you don’t think about it (pain), maybe you won’t experience it as much. We are trying to cheat the brain a little bit. We are trying to refocus mental channels on to something else,” he pointed out.

Moreover, a patient should enjoy the music he/she is listening to. Letting patient choose the music, or any audio book is an essential part of audio therapy.

The paper was published in Pediatric Surgery Jan. 3, 2015.

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