Looks like the savage beast isn't the only thing music can soothe: A good tune can also help ease pain.
Of course, that's not too much of a surprise since many people already use music to soothe both physical and mental pain -- but the latest research shows how there's one group of folks in particular who stand to benefit the most.
And if you're the type that finds yourself getting anxious at the very thought of pain -- the type who breaks out into a sweat even thinking about a routine dental cleaning, for example -- then get the headphones out and fire up some tunes, because music might be better than a painkiller for you.
In the new study, researchers sent painful jolts of electricity through the fingertips of 143 volunteers and measured their levels of pain as they listened to music. The volunteers were also told to pay attention to the music by focusing on certain melodies and listening for specific tones.
And it worked: Pain levels went down as the musical concentration went up for at least some of the patients.
But it didn't quite work for everyone. In fact, people who didn't have much anxiety over pain didn't get much of a benefit -- and I'm guessing it's because these folks probably don't feel the same levels of pain either.
Pain, after all, is as much mental as it is physical -- and that's why people who get anxious over it stand to benefit the most.
And if that's you, the researchers behind the new study say be sure to pick music that will hold your interest. Because, let's face it, that's rarely going to be the sleepy office Muzak and "light FM" droning in the background of most medical clinics.
So next time you have a medical or dental appointment, bring your own music player and a pair of headphones (as long as it's allowed in the room, of course). Tune in to your tunes... and tune out the pain.