Research For 'Rents

Childbirth, drugs and rock n’ roll


Our third baby is due to be born this weekend, so understandably, pain is on The Doctor’s mind right now.

Fortunately, a recent study from Northwestern University suggests a new method for treating it. This treatment comes with no dependency issues or side effects, and it doesn’t involve sitting on a rubber glove full of ice. And this miracle cure for coping with pain is…

…listening to music!

That’s right! Apparently there’s nothing like spinning some of your favorite tunes to help you dry your tears and forget all your troubles. (Unless your favorite tunes happen to include any country song ever – in which case, the opposite is probably true.)

But this music-as-a-treatment-for-pain thing isn’t just for adults. In fact, the study itself was conducted on children – so its results present parents with a great alternative for treating kids’ everyday ailments at home.

Here’s how the study worked:

Following children’s major surgery, researchers assigned one group of kids to a post-operative treatment of pain medication only, another group of kids to pain medication plus audio books of their choice, and a third group of kids to pain medication plus music of their choice. The researchers then assessed each child’s pain using a 10-point scale, with each number corresponding to a face that kids could use to indicate their discomfort – from a happy face for no pain, all the way to a really miserable-looking face for extreme pain.

On average, the kids who got to listen to music or audio books reported a one-point improvement in their pain levels compared to the kids who didn’t. That may not sound like much, but it’s actually the same amount of improvement patients get from taking over-the-counter painkillers like Advil and Tylenol. Plus, music has none of the nasty side effects that come with medication! (As long as you don’t count getting some super annoying Carly Rae Jepsen song stuck in your head a “side effect.”)

So the next time your little munchkin is suffering from the pain of a boo-boo, ear infection or wicked case of diaper rash, try supplementing his treatment with some of his very favorite music.

The Doctor will definitely be packing an iPod in her hospital bag when it’s time for the new baby to arrive! Got any suggestions for songs she should add to her playlist?

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