Feeling Nervous About Surgery? Time To Rock Out.

Last summer, I had oral surgery. It was a fairly routine procedure, but to hear me tell it, you would have thought I was having a limb amputated. For some reason, I was truly terrified of being sedated, and the pre-op video that explained a cracked jaw bone was a surgical risk didn’t help.

The day of, I just took a bunch of deep breaths and came through it fine. If only I had known that my favorite band could have helped me face surgery with more confidence and heal faster afterwords.

In a recent review of 400 research papers about the neurochemistry of music, researchers found that playing and listening to music has clear benefits for both mental and physical health. If you’ve ever seen professional athletes with their headphones on right before a competition, or used a lullaby to coax a fussy child to sleep, you’ve seen this phenomenon in action.

Studies of studies, also known as a literature review, aim to sum up the results of individual research done over a long period of time. In this literature review, researchers found that music both improved the body’s immune system function and reduced levels of stress. Listening to music was also found to be more effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety prior to surgery.

“We’ve found compelling evidence that musical interventions can play a health care role in settings ranging from operating rooms to family clinics,” says Prof. Levitin. “But even more importantly, we were able to document the neurochemical mechanisms by which music has an effect in four domains: management of mood, stress, immunity and as an aid to social bonding.”

The 400 studies showed concensus around several different aspects of music therapy, namely that music increased both immunoglobulin A, an antibody that plays a critical role in immunity of the mucous system, and natural killer cell counts (the cells that attack invading germs and bacteria).

Levitin and his postgraduate research fellow, Mona Lisa Chanda, also found that listening to and playing music reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body.


Related Reading:

Man Kills 17 Year-Old Boy For Listening To Music Too Loudly

Muslim Americans Bridging Communities Through Art And Music

Sydney Park Uses Industrial Music To Chase Off Bats


Image via Thinkstock


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Saleena Jadd
Past Member 4 years ago

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Danuta Watola
Danuta W4 years ago

thank you for sharing

Vita Pagh
Vita P4 years ago

Or a little ...MOZART!.....Yeaaaa!....

Mike Kelly
Mike Kelly4 years ago

I'm bringing my iPod & noise canceling headphones to the next OR visit.

Anesthesiologist: "Are you ready?"

"One second."

(Hit 'play', and Jagger and the Stones come on with: "2,000 Light Years from Home.")

"Okay, doc, ready."

No sense in the surgeon and nurses having all the fun.

Sheri P.
Sheri P4 years ago

no doubt about it...music is powerful stuff!

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se4 years ago


Christine Stewart

My dentist would let me listen to music on headphones for dental procedures- helped to drown out the sound of the drill!

Ken W.
Ken W4 years ago

Laina 622 will kill pain check her out on U tube !!

Sherrie Brunell
Sherrie Brunell4 years ago

It's funny this article was posted today. I just made a dental appointment for next Friday. I haven't seen a dentist in a very long time, primarily because I've been dealing with Crohn's for the past 15 years. Crohn's can be a very intense disease and until I was able to get it a little under control, I simply didn't care about any thing else.

When I made the appointment, I told the receptionist I was very nervous because I know I need some dental work and just the thought of instruments in my mouth, or a needle in my gums, freaks me out. I find it funny that I've survived so much from the Crohn's, had 18 inches of my small intestines removed and had to go through methadone withdrawal, yet I'm terrified of getting my teeth cleaned!

So, it's good to know that my music will help bring me through. I'm going to make sure I bring my iPod with me to my appointment. Music got me through methadone withdrawal, I think it can get me through some dental work. ;-) Thank you for this article!