Relaxation Training and Postoperative Music Therapy for Adolescents Undergoing Spinal Fusion Surgery

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Abstract

Spinal fusion for idiopathic scoliosis is one of the most painful surgeries experienced by adolescents. Music therapy, utilizing music-assisted relaxation with controlled breathing and imagery, is a promising intervention for reducing pain and anxiety for these patients. It can be challenging to teach new coping strategies to post-operative patients who are already in pain. This study evaluated the effects of introducing music-assisted relaxation training to adolescents before surgery. Outcome measures were self-reported pain and anxiety, recorded on 0-10 numeric rating scale, and observed behavioral indicators of pain and relaxation. The training intervention was a 12-minute video about music-assisted relaxation with opportunities to practice before surgery. Forty-four participants between the ages of 10 and 19 were enrolled. Participants were randomly assigned to the experimental group that watched the video at the preoperative visit or to the control group that did not watch the video. All subjects received a music therapy session with a board certified music therapist on post-operative day 2 while out of bed for the first time. Pain and anxiety were significantly reduced from immediately pre-therapy to post-therapy (paired t-test; p).

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