Music Therapy: Chronic Pain, Migraines, Children and Special Needs

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I have experience teaching children with severe special needs.  It was an extremely difficult job while so rewarding at the same time.  During my time teaching these special children, they received Music Therapy.  I have written about how much music helps me (feeling better makes me sing) but have seen the actual clinical side of how it can benefit many.  The American Music Therapy Association has provided fact sheets and extensive information on music therapy.

After reading many informative articles on Music Therapy, I thought I’d share some information I found intriguing and hope you will follow the links to learn more about how Music Therapy can benefit so many.

Music therapy is using music to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of an individual. Treatment includes creating, signing, moving to and/or listening to music.

Music therapists are more than music teachers.

To be a music therapist, one must “complete one of the approved college music therapy curricula (including an internship) are then eligible to sit for the national examination offered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Music therapists who successfully complete the independently administered examination hold the music therapist-board certified credential (MT-BC).” [1]

What can one expect from a music therapist?

“Through a planned and systematic use of music and music activities, the music therapist provides opportunities for:

  • Anxiety and stress reduction
  • Nonpharmacological management of pain and discomfort
  • Positive changes in mood and emotional states
  • Active and positive patient participation in treatment
  • Decreased length of stay

In addition, music therapy may allow for:

  • Emotional intimacy with families and caregivers
  • Relaxation for the entire family
  • Meaningful time spent together in a positive, creative way” [2]

How does music therapy make a difference for medical patients?

“Music therapy has been shown to be an efficacious and valid treatment option for medical patients with a variety of diagnoses.  Music therapy can be used to address patient needs related to respiration, chronic pain, physical rehabilitation, diabetes, headaches, cardiac conditions, surgery, and obstetrics, among others.  Research results and clinical experiences attest to the viability of music therapy even in those patients resistant to other treatment approaches.  Music is a form of sensory stimulation, which provokes responses due to the familiarity, predictability, and feelings of security associated with it.” [3]

Not only am I interested in how it can help migraine and chronic pain sufferers, but I am also interested in how it can help children.  I am a firm believer in teaching children through music and think it can benefit them for mild to severe needs.

How Does Music Therapy Make a Difference with Young Children?

“Music stimulates all of the senses and involves the child at many levels.  This “multimodal approach” facilitates many developmental skills. Quality learning and maximum participation occur when children are permitted to experience the joy of play.  The medium of music therapy allows this play to occur naturally and frequently. Music is highly motivating, yet it can also have a calming and relaxing effect.  Enjoyable music activities are designed to be success-oriented and make children feel better about themselves. Music therapy can help a child manage pain and stressful situations. Music can encourage socialization, self-expression, communication, and motor development. Because the brain processes music in both hemispheres, music can stimulate cognitive functioning and may be used for remediation of some speech/language skills.” [4]

Natural treatment

“Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people’s motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings.” [5]

 

This post is inspired by the U.S. Pain foundations 30 day challenge during pain awareness month (Septmeber). The focus of the challenge is a month of empowerment!

For more information on how you can participate and support the U.S. Pain foundation please go to: http://uspainawarenessmonth.com/30-day-challenge/ #PAM16 #PainAwarenessMonth #USPain

For more information on Music Therapy please go to the referenced links or visit: http://www.musictherapy.org/about/musictherapy/

References:

[1] http://www.musictherapy.org/faq/#39

[2] http://www.musictherapy.org/assets/1/7/MT_Medicine_2006.pdf

[3] http://www.musictherapy.org/assets/1/7/MT_Medicine_2006.pdf

[4] http://www.musictherapy.org/assets/1/7/MT_Young_Children_2006.pdf

[5] http://www.musictherapy.org/about/musictherapy/

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