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Understanding the Benefits of Music for Seniors with Arthritis

By Mary-Frances Walsh, 9:00 am on

Sonoma County home care providers know that music can positively affect people both emotionally and psychologically. However, recent studies indicate that listening to appealing music also produces a number of physical effects. One of these benefits includes pain management in the face of living with arthritis. 

Research Studies

The correlation between pain management and music was recorded by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in the Journal of Advanced Nursing. The report shared that people who listened to music for at least one hour daily noticed a decrease in pain by approximately 20 percent. The study participants also experienced reductions in depression and physical impairment. Another article published in Clinical Rheumatology claimed similar results. The submission also reported that patient’s heart rates and breathing patterns slowed to synchronize with the rhythm of the melodies. 

Music and Brain Function

Researchers performed imaging scans to visualize what activity occurs in the brain when people hear music. The images show that music stops activity in the amygdala, which is responsible for causing anxiety and depression. Essentially, listening to music triggers the pleasure center of the brain. As the activity is enjoyable, the brain releases calming dopamine and the natural pain relief chemicals known as endorphins. Some theorize that the brain cannot handle more than one function simultaneously, which is why other brain centers associated with pain experience a reduction in activity. 

Frequency of Therapy

As there are no adverse side effects from music therapy, there are no limitations as to how often seniors might use music for pain relief. Researchers explain that pain management progressed increasingly as study participants repeated listening sessions. Music therapists report that various types of music may provide beneficial results. Some seniors enjoy instrumental genres while others like music featuring vocals. Arthritis patients experience pain reduction whether listening to a live performance or previously recorded music. However, therapists generally advise against choosing selections with fast and pounding rhythms.

When seniors live with chronic conditions like arthritis, they benefit from comprehensive in-home care. Home Care Assistance in Sonoma County provides flexible Alzheimer’s, dementia and stroke care Sonoma County families rely on to help seniors age in place in comfort. We enable seniors to live out their golden years at home while managing chronic conditions and illnesses or simply offering companionship. Call (707) 843.4368 today for more information and to set up a free consultation.