New science may show why sound can relieve pain

August 26, 2022 – Listen up folks: If you’ve ever thought your favorite song made you feel better all over, new science suggests it’s more than just a fantasy.

In fact, music isn’t the only thing that has an analgesic or analgesic effect. Researchers have found that many types of sounds and noises are effective when played at the right volume.

Doctors and researchers have long known about the relationship between sound and the body. Music therapy has been used for decades to manage pain after surgery, during labor, after childbirth, and during cancer treatment.

However why This is not well understood. Some theories suggest that the analgesic effect of sound is psychological.

This new research suggests that something deeper is at work. and, chemistry, Shedding light on the inner workings of the brain and revealing the circuitry behind this pain relief.

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Dr. Yuanyuan (Kevin) Liu is a sensory biologist and pain researcher at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and a co-author of this study.

“The relative sound intensity can help reduce pain,” he says. “Low-intensity sounds can deactivate auditory-somatosensory pathways and activate somatosensory thalamus.” that it appears to slow down the activity of

In this study, scientists injected mice with a solution that caused discomfort in their paws. They then played different sounds of varying intensities, from soothing music to white noise, and observed changes in rodent behavior.

According to Liu, what they saw was that sound “reduced reflex paw withdrawal and aversion to painful stimuli, which are indicators of pain relief in rodents.” The sound appeared to help reduce pain in the mice.

Researchers found that the ideal volume for pain relief is just 5 decibels above room noise.

“Low-intensity sounds at 5 decibels are related to background sounds,” Liu explains. “It’s not an absolute value, but rather a relative value.” So wherever you are, the volume should be just a little bit louder than the background he noise.

And, good news for sludge metal fans, there was no difference in the types of sounds played. Even when the noise was tuned to be “unpleasant,” playing it at an appropriate volume had a pain-relieving effect.

At least it doesn’t matter if you’re into Mozart or Metallica, according to the survey results. Either will work, as long as the song plays at the right volume.

The future of sound and pain management

Liu warns that we are only in the opening bar when it comes to transcribing a symphony of how the body and mind respond to sound.

“We still have a long way to go to translate these findings in mice into the human context,” he says.

It cannot be said for certain that the human brain functions in the same way as the mouse brain when exposed to sound. However, the findings in mice may provide clues about how our brains work, and thus may be of interest in understanding how sound affects pain perception. It provides puzzle pieces.

“We hope our work will open up new directions in the field of acoustic-induced analgesia,” says Liu. But more research needs to be done to make that happen.

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