The connection between music and health has been a favourite topic of academic researchers. Whether it’s playing classical music to developing fetuses, studying why listening to Mozart (The Mozart Effect), or simply putting on some Bach after a long day at the office to unwind — science has confirmed our intuitive belief that music is good for us.
Adding to the research is an interesting new study coming out of the University of Utah that could have a major impact on the treatment of pain. The study found that they could amplify the effects of ibuprofen as a pain reliever in mice simply by playing a Mozart. The study showed that a Mozart playlist boosted the effectiveness of the pain reliever by an extraordinary 23 percent.
The researchers used two pain models. The first simulated inflammatory pain (carrageenan model) and the other surgical pain, aka “plantar incision”. To determine if the results were contributed to by the music, the two groups of mice were separated into control and study groups. The study groups had the mice listening to three-hours of Mozart, three times per day for 21 continuous days. The control groups were exposed to only ambient noise.
Four separate trials confirmed the same results: music, when combined with the pain relief drugs, offered a significant increase in the effectiveness in the treatment of pain from both inflammation and surgical pain.
Mice that were treated with both music and ibuprofen showed a 93 percent reduction in inflammatory pain response compared to the similarly dosed control group with no music. Pairing music with either other anti-inflammatory medications cannabidiol or NAX 5055, also showed better results.
“If we could package music and other nonpharmacological therapies into mobile apps and deliver them with drugs and it works, it will be better than drugs alone. It is exciting to find new ways to improve pain treatments,” explained Grzegorz Bulaj, senior author of the research findings to Medical Xpress.
While the study shows promise, researchers are still not sure if the results will work with other types of music, or on other types of pain. Also, more human trials will be needed to see if the results work on people, not just mice.
So the next time you reach for a bottle of Advil, put on some Mozart and see if you can feel the difference. Science is betting you will.