Music therapy for people with chronic pain: facilitators and barriers.




Music therapy, Music medicine, Chronic pain, Music


The aim of this study was to investigate the perceptions of music therapy among those living with chronic pain, and the possible facilitators and barriers to music therapy if offered as part of treatment. Following ethical approval, a convenience sample of 105 adult participants, who attended multisite pain clinics were included. Quantitative data were collected through an eighteen-item questionnaire using a Likert scale. Eighty-nine per cent of participants believe that music can improve mood, and 86% perceive health benefits from music. 81% agree that music can be a valuable self-help tool. However, 45% reported that they had not heard of music therapy. The majority (60%) would like to attend music therapy if it was offered as part of their pain management. For some, use of technology (9%), internet connection (15%), and private space (16%) were identified as barriers to accessing music therapy online. Music therapy has the potential to be a part of a person-centered care plan for those with chronic pain. Currently, music therapy is not an accessible treatment option. Healthcare providers should consider music therapy as a part of a chronic pain treatment plan, and future studies should be directed to evaluating its efficacy in chronic pain.

Author Biographies

Katie Fitzpatrick, Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland & University of Limerick Hospitals Group, Limerick, Ireland.

Katie Fitzpatrick is Senior Music Therapist with the pain service at the University of Limerick Hospitals Group and a PhD researcher at the University of Limerick, Ireland looking at the topic of music therapy and chronic pain.

Professor Dominic Harmon, Anesthesia, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, University of Limerick Hospitals Group, Limerick, Ireland.

Dominic Harmon is a consultant in Anesthesia and the Pain Medicine Lead at the University of Limerick Hospitals Group, Ireland.

Professor Hilary Moss, Health Research Institute, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.

Hilary Moss is an Associate Professor and Course Director of the MA in Music Therapy at the University of Limerick, Ireland.





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