The influence of music and music therapy on pain-induced neuronal oscillations measured by magnetencephalography.

Author: Hauck M, Metzner S, Rohlffs F, Lorenz J, Engel AK.
Department of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany; Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany. Electronic address:
Conference/Journal: Pain
Date published: 2012 Dec 28
Other: Pages: S0304-3959(12)00677-X , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2012.12.016 , Word Count: 226

Modern forms of music therapy are clinically established for various therapeutic or rehabilitative goals, especially in the treatment of chronic pain. However, little is known about the neuronal mechanisms that underlie pain modulation by music. Therefore, we attempted to characterize the effects of music therapy on pain perception by comparing the effects of 2 different therapeutic concepts, referred to as receptive and entrainment methods, on cortical activity recorded by magnetencephalography in combination with laser heat pain. Listening to preferred music within the receptive method yielded a significant reduction of pain ratings associated with a significant power reduction of delta-band activity in the cingulate gyrus, which suggests that participants displaced their focus of attention away from the pain stimulus. On the other hand, listening to self-composed "pain music" and "healing music" within the entrainment method exerted major effects on gamma-band activity in primary and secondary somatosensory cortices. Pain music, in contrast to healing music, increased pain ratings in parallel with an increase in gamma-band activity in somatosensory brain structures. In conclusion, our data suggest that the 2 music therapy approaches operationalized in this study seem to modulate pain perception through at least 2 different mechanisms, involving changes of activity in the delta and gamma bands at different stages of the pain processing system.
Copyright © 2012 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
PMID: 23414577