Pain relief - How to pick the right song!

Imagine every muscle in your midsection tightening up and not letting go. Add to that a burning sensation and the feeling of getting kicked in the groin. This is an  approximation of what kidney stone sufferers experience.

I know because I am one. Did I mention that it persists for hours?

My doctor, who just got back from maternity leave, described the pain to me another way. She said kidney stones can be worse than childbirth. And yet a certain kind of music helped me tamp down a recent kidney stone attack.

"The healing power of music is often used in hospitals to treat a long list of conditions...Anecdotal evidence shows that music can tap memories and reduce anxiety, pain, heart rate and blood pressure. It can also help accelerate healing, boost learning and increase social interaction," states an article on the AARP website entitled "The Power of Music: Sounds That Heal."

As the realization that my pain would not be fleeting set in, I turned on Hank Williams. I was hoping the dust bowl singer would serve as a distraction. But the yodel and twang did no such thang.

I switched to Krishna Das, a musician that my wife uses for meditation. At this point I was worried about the oncoming pain. The medicine wasn't helping. A breathing technique that nurses taught my wife and I in preparation for childbirth came to mind. I breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth.

Krishna Das seemed like a better choice. I started calming down. Once I picked the right music, it seemed to help greatly with my pain relief.

What makes one kind of music work better than another?

"Select familiar songs: Most people remember music from childhood or when they were in their twenties. In the case of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, her mother knew her favorite songs and during her recovery, her family surrounded her with the music she loved," states the March issue of AARP Bulletin.

The About.com article "Best Types of Healing Music" by Mark Stibich recommends classical music or instrumental music.

"How music creates healing is not known. The most obvious route is the relaxation route. By creating a relaxing environment, the music gives the body a better chance to heal by reducing stress hormones. There are other possible explanations. It is fairly well established that music with a slow rhythm can slow the heart rate," states Stibich.

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