Cover Image

The relationship between music and musculoskeletal chronic pais

Eliseth Ribeiro Leão, Maria Julia Paes da Silva


Musculoskeletal chronic pain causes suffering and influences an individual’s quality of life, functioning,and independence. The purpose of this descriptive, comparative, and correlational study was to examine the effect of music on the intensity of musculoskeletal chronic pain among women with musculoskeletal chronic pain, and identify symbolic themes similarities and aesthetic reactions caused by mental images after listening to three music pieces(Bolero, Lohengrin, and Mix). Data were collected from 90 women suffering from specific chronic musculoskeletal pain(fibromyalgia, repetitive strains injuries, and spinal column diseases) using the Numerical Rating Scale. Differences in perceptions of pain were measured before and after classical music listening (Bolero – M. Ravel, Lohengrin – R.Wagner, and Mix – classical various). Drawing and verbal reports were also recorded to characterize mental images.Results of t-tests indicated that women in the three groups had less pain after listening to the music pieces (p< 0.001).Symbolic and aesthetically significant differences among the three musical pieces were also observed. The mix has shown lower results in mental image quantity in relation to Ravel and Wagner’s music, both symbolically and aesthetically, with predominance of descriptive images. These findings indicate that music is an effective nursing intervention that can be used to relieve musculoskeletal chronic pain.


music therapy; chronic pain; alternative therapy


Ortiz JM. The tao of music: using music to change your life. Dublin: Newleaf; 1998.

Good M, Staton-Hicks M, Grass JA, Anderson GC, Lai H, Roykulcharoen V, Adler PA. Relaxation and music to reduce postsurgical pain. J Adv Nurs 2001; 33(2): 208-15.

Magill L. The use of music therapy to address the suffering in advanced cancer pain. J Palliat Care 2001;17(3): 167-72.

McCaffrey R, Freeman E. Effect of music on chronic osteoarthritis pain in older people. J Adv Nurs 2003; 44(5): 517-24.

Voss JA, Good M, Yates B, Baun MM, Thompson A, Hertzog M. Sedative music reduces

anxiety and pain during chair rest after open-jeart surgery. Pain 2004; 112(1-2): 197-203.

Bergold L, Sobral V. Como uma onda no ar: a música na humanização dos cuidados. Online Braz J Nurs[internet] 2003 December [cited Jan 17 2005]; 2(3). Available from

Waterman M. (1996) Emotional responses to music: implicit and explicit effects in listeners and performers. Psychology of Music1996; 24: 53-67.

Bush C. Healing imagery of music: pathways to the inner self. Portland: Rudra Press; 1995.

McKinney CH. The effect on music on imagery. Journal of Music Therapy1990; 27(1): 34- 46.

Goodman LA. The multivariate analysis of qualitative data: interactions among multiple classifications. J Am Statistical Association 1979; 65(329): 226-256.

Yakut E, Bayar B, Meriç A, Bayar K, Yakut Y. Reliability and validity of reverse visual analog scale (right to left) in different intensity of pain. The Pain Clinic 2003; 15(1): 1-6.

Karoly P, Jensen MP. Multimethod assessment of chronic pain. New York: Pergamon Press; 1987.

Jung CG. The psychology of the transference. In: Colected works. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 1946.

Abdi B, Jalili B, Tavakoli H, Naderpour M. Emotional changes in children undergoing cochlear implantation through evaluation of their drawings. IJMS 2004; 29(2): 62-66.

Thomas GV, Jolley RP. Drawing conclusions: a re-examination of empirical and conceptual bases for psychological evaluation of children from their drawings. Br J Clin Psychol 1998; 37(Pt2): 127-39.

Kaser VA. The effects of an auditory subliminal message upon the production of images and dreams. J Nerv Ment Dis 1986; 174(7): 397-407.

Chevalier J. Dictionary of symbols dictionnaire des symboles. New York:French & European Pubns; 1982.

Chevalier J, Gheerbrant A. Dictionnaire des symboles: mythes rêves, coutumes, gestes, forms, figures, couteurs, nombres.Paris:Robert Laffont; 1997.

Dobbro ERL. The music as an alternative therapy to take care of women with fibromyalgia. [dissertation]. São Paulo (SP): Escola de Enfermagem da Universidade de São Paulo; 1998.

Winer BJ, Brown DR, Michels KM. Statistical principles in experimental design. New York: McGraw-Hill; 1991.

Beck SL. The therapeutic use of music for cancer-related pain. Oncol Nurs Forum 1991; 18(8): 1327-37.

White JM. Music as intervention: a notable endeavor to improve patient outcomes. Nurs Clin North Am2001; 36(1): 83-92.

Evans D. The effectiveness of music as an intervention for hospital patients: a systematic review. Journal of Advanced Nursing 2002; 37(1): 8-18.

Shertzer K, Keck J. Music and the PACU environment J Perianesth Nurs 2001; 16(2): 90-102.

Benenzon R. Music therapy theory and manual: contributions to the knowledge of nonverbal contexts. Illinois: Charles Thomas Publ; 1997.

Osborne JW. The mapping of thoughts, emotions, sensations, and images as response to music. Journal of Music Therapy1981; 5(4): 133-36.

Jourdain R. Music, the brain, and ecstasy: how music captures our imagination. New York: Harper Collins; 1998.

Shatin L. Alteration of mood via music: a study of the vectoring effect. Journal of Psychology1970; 75(2): 81-6.

Vigotski LS. The psychology of art. Cambridge: MIT Press; 1971. 3

Hoshino E. The feeling of musical mode and its emotional character in a melody. Psychol Music 1996; 2: 29-46.