Since pre-medication isn’t widely accepted in spinal anesthesia, researchers from Saitama Medical University, in Kawagoe, Japan studied the potential benefits of music therapy to control anxiety.

First, the details.

  • 58 patients scheduled for spinal anesthesia, were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
    • The music group listened to music by headphones.
    • The control group heard the sounds of an ordinary operating theater.
  • Trait Anxiety Inventory score was obtained before the procedure
    • Trait anxiety denotes relatively stable individual differences in anxiety proneness.
  • State Anxiety Inventory score was obtained after surgery.
    • State anxiety reflects a transitory emotional state.
  • Bispectral (BIS) analysis of sedation was used to measure the depth of sedation.

And, the results.

  • During surgery, the depth of sedation in the music group was significantly greater than in the control group.
  • There was no difference in sedation before or after surgery.
  • After surgery transient state anxiety scores were 30 in the music group vs 39 in the control group — a significant difference.
  • Before surgery the trait anxiety scores between groups didn’t different.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Music-therapy reduced BIS value and was effective to reduce patient’s anxiety during spinal anesthesia.”

Music didn’t reduce the need for anesthesia in this study, even though the depth of anesthesia was greater in the music group.

As discussed here, others have also failed to show a reduction in the need for anesthetics. Although 2 studies support the conclusion that music reduces anxiety during procedures.

6/21/09 20:40 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.