Hole J (2015) The Lancet (Link to abstract)
This study is a systematic review of RCTs looking at the use of music in the intraoperative and postoperative period to reduce post-operative pain. The authors ended up with 72 studies that had a control group (white noise, headphones, regular noise, and some others) with varying degrees of quality. Overall the use of music decreased pain, decreased analgesia use, and decreased anxiety regardless of the procedure, whether GA was used or not and whether or not the patient was allowed to choose the music. Limitations include heterogeneity of the quality of included studies and possible publication bias based on the funnel plot.
* Likely we can think of music as another form of distraction. We know that distraction is important in controlling children’s’ pain and perhaps this is another form of distraction that we can use. It hasn’t been as well evaluated in children but given the minimal risk profile there is no reason not to use music for patients who request it.