- Given the role that neuro-transmitters, hormones and the limbic system play in pain according to the Neuro Matrix theory, it is highly relevant that music has been shown to affect the release of, endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, and decrease cortisol levels.
- Gate Control Theory (GCT) suggests that stimulating the touch senses in the nerve origin region of pain will serve to ‘close the gate’ to the transmission of pain. Low frequency sound stimulation (LFSS) stimulates the mechanoreceptors in the body and cellular structures more deeply, thereby potentially serving to block pain transmission.
- Low frequency sound stimulation may be a mechanism to reduce chronic pain.
BACKGROUND: The search for effective treatments for fibromyalgia (FM) has continued for years. The present study premises that thalamocortical dysrhythmia is implicated in fibromyalgia and that low-frequency sound stimulation (LFSS) can play a regulatory function by driving neural rhythmic oscillatory activity.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of LFSS on FM.
METHOD: The present open-label study with no control group used a repeated-measures design with no noncompleters. Nineteen female volunteers (median age 51 years; median duration of FM 5.76 years) were administered 10 treatments (twice per week for five weeks). Treatments involved 23 min of LFSS at 40 Hz, delivered using transducers in a supine position. Measures (repeated before and after treatment) included the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, Jenkins Sleep Scale, Pain Disability Index, sitting and standing without pain (in minutes), cervical muscle range of motion and muscle tone. Mean percentages were calculated on end of treatment self-reports of improvement on pain, mood, insomnia and activities of daily living.
RESULTS: Significant improvements were observed with median scores: Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, 81% (P<0.0001); Jenkins Sleep Scale, 90% (P<0.0001); and Pain Disability Index, 49.1% (P<0.0001). Medication dose was reduced in 73.68% of patients and completely discontinued in 26.32%. Time sitting and standing without pain increased significantly (P<0.0001). Cervical muscle range of motion increased from 25% to 75% (P=0.001), while muscle tone changed from hypertonic to normal (P=0.0002).
CONCLUSION: In the present study, the LFSS treatment showed no adverse effects and patients receiving the LFSS treatment showed statistically and clinically relevant improvement. Further phase 2 and 3 trials are warranted.
Lili Naghdi MD CCFP, Heidi Ahonen PhD MTA, Pasqualino Macario DC, and Lee Bartel PhD, The effect of low-frequency sound stimulation on patients with fibromyalgia: A clinical study Pain Res Manag. 2015 Jan-Feb; 20(1): e21–e27.