Hospitals have a free and powerful tool that they could use more often to help reduce the pain that surgery patients experience: music.
Scores of studies over the years have looked at the power of music to ease this kind of pain; an analysis published Wednesday in The Lancet that pulls all those findings together builds a strong case.
When researchers in London started combing the medical literature for studies about music’s soothing power, they found hundreds of small studies suggesting some benefit. The idea goes back to the days of Florence Nightingale, and music was used to ease surgical pain as early as 1914. (My colleague Patricia Neighmond reported on one of these studies just a few months ago.)