Perspectives on Music Imagery and complex chronic pain

Ilan Sanfi, Erik Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The aim of the article is to examine the concept of chronic pain as a complex phenomenon and to highlight the potential role of music therapy – in particular, music imagery – in the treatment of chronic pain. Theories of pain, along with research on pain pathways and pain control in the nervous system, support the evidence from clinical practice that music interventions can alleviate the sensation of pain whilst also offering a pleasant aesthetic experience. Music therapy provides opportunities for processing psychological and existential issues and enables patients to better cope with chronic pain. Related research in neuroscience and music medicine provides supplementary evidence that music can have a considerable impact on the physiological and psychological aspects of pain. This article summarises selected theoretical, clinical, and research–based knowledge relevant for music therapy clinicians and other health professionals aiming to alleviate chronic pain.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApproaches. Music therapy and special education
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)233-245
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2017


  • music therapy, music imagery, complex chronic pain, theory, research, clinical implications


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