Last week music was putting patients’ lives in danger, now it’s speeding their recovery.

New research suggests that listening to music before, during and after an operation is an effective painkiller. The study of 7,000 patients found that those who were allowed to listen to their favourite tunes rated their pain levels lower and needed less medication to feel comfortable.

Scientists at Brunel University and Queen Mary University of London also found that music reduced anxiety and made patients more likely to feel satisfied by the procedure. Their results came from a meta-analysis of all published randomised trials on the subject, looking at how music compares with standard care practices or other interventions such as massage and relaxation.

Dr Catherine Meads from Brunel University, who co-authored the research, said their findings could be useful for patients: “Music is a non-invasive, safe and cheap intervention that should be available to everyone undergoing surgery.”

The research will now be followed up with a pilot scheme at The Royal London Hospital for women having caesarean sections and hysteroscopy, with patients asked to submit a playlist before being connected to a pillow with built-in speakers.

In related, and decidedly alarming news, surgeons have been warned not to play drum and bass during operations as research suggests loud music puts patients at risk. [via Crack/Daily Telegraph]

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