Music Therapy for OA patients

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Music Therapy and Osteoarthritis

Most people with OA struggle to cope with the pain. Patients with this condition are now complementing medication with music therapy - a welcome distraction that puts both body and mind at ease.

Music Therapy and Osteoarthritis

In common parlance, Osteoarthritis (OA) or “wear and tear arthritis” is estimated to affect the lives of nearly 630 million people on the planet. It manifests as chronic inflammation of the joints caused by the breakdown of the soft, elastic tissue covering the ends of bones. Women are more prone to OA compared to men. The pain associated with this condition ranges from very mild to severe; besides, there could be a loss of movement, depending on the extent of degeneration of the cartilage, tendons, and ligaments around the joints. 

Most people with OA tend to be mentally preoccupied with the pain, often struggling to disengage themselves from this distressed state, and this tends to take away some sparkle from their lives. Distracting oneself from this anguish that threatens to consume every bit of happiness around is increasingly recommended by the orthopaedic community as a reliable way to manage this pain. Music therapy has turned out to be an excellent diversion from OA while helping to soothe the fatigued body and mind.  

“Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.”
-Sir Elton John, a celebrated English composer and an Academy-award winner for the song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight".

Research suggests that elderly people, in particular, with osteoarthritis, are responding positively to music therapy and this also includes patients who have undergone therapeutic cleaning of the joint (joint lavage) to get rid of the pain caused by impurities like tissue bits and cartilage debris. Slow-tempo music, be it live or recorded, is said to be able to raise the activity levels of the central pleasure-seeking region of the brain – nucleus accumbens – to release the “feel-good” dopamine hormone and impart healing to jangled nerves.

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
-Bob Marley, an iconic Reggae musician.

Music therapy reportedly stimulates control centres in a human brain, like periaqueductal grey, to trigger the body’s natural painkillers, thus helping reduce pain and stress, stave off depression, and lower dependence on pain medication.

Consult your doctor and/ or physician, for any Therapy related to Osteoarthritis. 

Music Therapy for OA patients

Music Therapy for OA patients

Slow, rhythmic, and soothing notes are desirable for people with OA. On the other hand, booming music with faster tempos i.e. 120-130 beats per minute (BMP) would rather be avoided, since these cause a person to breathe much faster, with increased heart rate and higher blood pressure. While utilizing this therapy, consider focusing mindfully on one’s heartbeat and breathing to blow out the stress within. Live music has an edge over recorded music as it can be improvised and personalized based on each listener’s emotional state to elicit the right response.

Shakespeare qualified music as the “food of love”. Along the same line, modern-day osteopathic schools are exploring how feeding the brain’s pleasure cells with mellifluous notes can trigger the right responses to significantly reduce pain and stress for people with OA.  

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