US research has shown listening to music for 20 minutes a day can reduce perceived pain levels among older people suffering from chronic osteoarthritis.
The study conducted by Florida-based researchers and published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing examined 66 older people suffering from chronic osteoarthritis pain.
The patients were split into two groups and studied over a 14-day period. Half of them listened to music for 20 minutes a day and the other half sat quietly for 20 minutes.
Those who listened to music estimated their pain levels had fallen by 66%, with the researchers measuring the reduction in pain at 50%.
According to Professor Ruth McCaffrey from the Florida International University, the group who listened to music experienced a significant reduction in pain.
The amounts of naturally occuring pain relief increased over the 14-day listening period.
Music is thought to release endorphins which reduce pain while decreasing blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen consumption.
Professor McCaffrey said the results had significant implications for clinical practice. 'Because listening to music can easily be used in community settings, it can be considered an effective nursing intervention for elderly people with chronic osteoarthritis. The findings also have implications for other illnesses,' she said.