Some researchers have postulated that singing is actually the fundamental communication method for humans, that we evolved a songbird-like voice for serenades before we learned to talk. And some research suggests that, far from a scream, tapping into this primal song may actually help us cope with pain.
Song before Speech?
Charles Darwin was the first to propose that people sang before they could talk. As was his wont, he painted a somewhat fanciful image of our primitive ancestors singing beautiful, wordless love songs. The ability to sing these songs was selected for, leading to an ever-more-intricate vocal apparatus that would eventually allow us to speak.
Although this might seem like a stretch, think about how we naturally use a sing-song voice when talking to those who we do not expect to understand our words, such as children and pets.
The Pain Benefits of Song
So how can we benefit from the power of song as adults? Many ways, including pain relief. A 2004 study of chronic pain patients showed they experienced pain relief not just when singing, but for a long time afterward. Patients in the study were divided into two groups: some attended nine 30-minute group singing sessions. Others were sent to exercise sessions accompanied by music for the same number of sessions and length of time. Patients in the singing group reported significant pain reduction, not just immediately after the sessions, but at 6 months afterward.
And that’s not the only study to show these benefits. A 2010 review of the technique concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to say for sure, but there was convincing data that group singing could help people deal with chronic pain and other chronic health conditions. The use of singing may be particularly important for its ability to reduce dependence on pain medications, which can cause serious health problems if overused.
Another Approach to Chronic Pain Relief
Singing is a good alternative to medications, but the best approach to chronic pain is to determine the cause if possible and eliminate it completely. TMJ can cause many types of chronic pain, including jaw pain, headaches, neck pain, and backaches. If you suffer from these or other types of chronic pain, you should be evaluated for TMJ to see if TMJ treatment can eliminate or reduce your pain.
If you suffer from chronic pain and want to learn whether TMJ is the cause, please call (303) 691-0267 at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado in Denver for an appointment today.