Pain and Relief Reports

Pain and Relief Reports

ISSN 2057-3219
Original Research

Effects of music on tonic heat pain in depression–a preliminary investigation

Stefan Gebhardt1*, Martin T. Huber1,2 and Richard von Georgi3,4

*Correspondence: Stefan Gebhardt

1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Marburg, Germany.

Author Affiliations

2. Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Hospital of Stade, Germany.

3. Department of Music science and Music education, University of Giessen, Germany.

4. International Psychoanalytic University Berlin, Berlin, Germany.


Background: An altered pain perception is a common clinical feature in patients with depressive disorders. However, the question of how listening to music influences pain perception in subjects with depression has not yet been studied.

Aims: The aim of the study was to test the hypothesis that music reduces the severity of pain in patients with depressive disorders. For the investigation the tonic heat pain model was used as it is suitable to simulate chronic pain.

Methods: Repeated measurement design on n=20 patients with a depressive disorder (mean age 49±14 years). Subjective pain ratings were assessed two times without and once with music, each trial lasted 5 minutes with measurements taken every minute.

Results: Under the influence of music the patients showed significantly reduced pain ratings compared to the trial without music (p<0.05). Conclusions: The use of music appears to be effective on pain symptomatology in patients suffering from depressive disorders. Further studies are warranted to examine the use of music within a therapeutic context.

Keywords: Music, pain, depression, tonic heat, therapy

ISSN 2057-3219
Volume 1
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