Music Eases Chronic Pain of Fibromyalgia by Changing ‘Pain Matrix’ of Brain, Study Suggests

Music Eases Chronic Pain of Fibromyalgia by Changing ‘Pain Matrix’ of Brain, Study Suggests
Listening to music eases pain in people with fibromyalgia (FM) by lowering brain activity related to pain and inducing activity that helps to distract, relax, and foster positive emotions, a study suggests. The study, “Functional connectivity of music-induced analgesia in fibromyalgia,” was published in the journal Nature.  Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain syndrome accompanied by fatigue, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and memory issues. Research suggests that pain signals are amplified in people with FM, making them more sensitive to pain and other types of input such as noise.  Brain scans of fibromyalgia patients using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) — which identifies active areas of the brain by increased blood flow — have shown that these people have alterations in brain areas involved in pain intensity, pain processing, and lack of pain inhibitory capabilities.  Studies also suggest that music can lower perceptions of pain in people with chronic pain conditions such as FM, low back pain, and osteoarthritis — a phenomenon known as music-induced analgesia (MIA). MIA is thought to originate in the brain and not in pain receptors, making it a “top-down” process induced by distraction from pain, familiarity to the music, emotions, relaxation, and reward.  However, only one study details the effects of music on chronic pain, using neuroimaging techniques like fMRI to identify the underlying mechanism of MIA.  Researchers in Mexico wanted to expand on their previously mentioned study, and recruited a group of 20 FM patients to undergo fMRI brain scans while listening to music to help identify areas of the brain most affected. All were women between the ages of 22 and 70 (average age of 46.4), and findin
Subscribe or to access all post and page content.