Anxiety is a fairly common reaction to undergoing surgery—a reaction that music may be able to ease.
Many pre-op patients are given sedative drugs to help them feel calmer, especially since high levels of stress hormones can affect post-op recovery. However, these drugs can themselves cause breathing problems and other side effects.
A Penn Medicine research team worked with a group of 157 patients about to undergo surgery requiring regional anesthesia. The patients either received midazolam, a common sedative, or listened to an especially relaxing music track through noise-canceling headphones.
According to results published in the journal Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine, patients in both the drug and music groups experienced similar declines in anxiety levels.