Listening to music does not reduce pain during sigmoidoscopy

Jan J. Meeuse*, Jan Jacob Koornstra, An K. L. Reyners

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Up to 40% of the sigmoidoscopies are considered painful by patients. Nonpharmacological intervention would be attractive, as sedation and analgesia carry the risk of side-effects and increase procedure-related costs. Music might have the potential of pain reduction, but its effect during sigmoidoscopy has not been established yet. To study whether listening to music reduces experienced pain during sigmoidoscopy.

Methods Consecutive patients, above 18 years of age, undergoing sigmoidoscopy without sedation or analgesia and who gave their informed consent were included in this study. Patients in the music group listened to their preferred music (classical, jazz, English or Dutch Popular) during the sigmoidoscopy. The control group received care as usual. The outcome measures were pain intensity during sigmoidoscopy (measured with a 100-mm-long visual analogue scale) and the proportion of patients with at least moderate pain during sigmoidoscopy (pain intensity score of 50 mm or higher).

Results The music groups consisted of 153 patients, the control group of 154 patients. The mean pain intensity +/- standard deviation was 36 +/- 27 mm in the music group and 40 +/- 29 in the control group (P=0.27) during sigmoidoscopy. The proportion of patients with at least moderate pain during sigmoidoscopy was 29 and 37% in the respective groups (P=0.12).

Conclusion Listening to music by patients did not reduce pain intensity during sigmoidoscopy. As a consequence, music during sigmoidoscopy is not recommended for this purpose. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 22: 942-945 (C) 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)942-945
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean journal of gastroenterology & hepatology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2010


  • music
  • nonpharmacological intervention
  • pain
  • sigmoidoscopy

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