Have a Headache? Go Listen to "Candle in the Wind"

You heard it here first.  Some kinds of music can ease pain.  Not all music, but some.  Beats me.  I never cared much for Elton John but supposedly his "Candle in the Wind" (about Princess Diana's death) may cure your lower back pain.

Well, not really, but a very scientific study of this very thing has been done a number of times, including a study by the University of Utah Pain Management Center, which found roughly four in 10 people living with persistent pain said listening to music helped relieve their symptoms, according to reports, CBS News in New York notes.

Pleasant music triggers the release of the brain chemical dopamine,” Robert Zatorre, of McGill University, who studies emotion and music, tells brainfacts.org. This change “is strongly associated with other rewarding and motivating stimuli, such as food, sex, and certain addictive drugs,” Zatorre adds. Scientists believe that music’s ability to make you feel good may be one way it helps to alleviate pain.

The story goes on to say that other studies suggest that "how good a song makes you feel affects your perception of pain."   Most of us like the sound of rain on the roof, or waves on the shore, but not too many, car horns.  Or beeping trucks as they back up.  Or the sound of the dentist's drill.  Of course, that brings up other thoughts, but we won't do there. 

But back to Elton John.

CBS News in New York reports that 

And it doesn't just help us middle-aged and older folks.  Among 16-24 year olds suffering with persistent pain, 66 percent said listening to music helped.

And what were the top five songs?

  1. “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Simon and Garfunkel
  2. “Angels,” Robbie Williams
  3. “Albatross,” Fleetwood Mac
  4. “Candle In The Wind,” Elton John
  5. “Easy,” The Commodores

So that's where Elton John comes in.  I kind of think of "Candle" as droning and putting me to sleep.  But that's me. 


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