The modified saying Music soothes the savage beast may have new applications in the modern world of medicine. New research suggests that music may help some children experience less discomfort when dealing with low level or moderate pain.
A study that was published in an issue of Pediatrics caught my eye online. The title Cough Trick May Reduce Pain of Routine Immunizations seemed relevant to my practice so I decided to preview the study a little early.
The study was performed at The University of Nebraska and involved 68 children (small sample size) and they were all receiving vaccines at either the pre-kindergarten visit (age four to five years) or at the 11 to12-year-old visit when routine immunizations are again given.
In this study the children were all instructed to COUGH while getting their vaccines and then the children as well as their parents and nurses were surveyed to see how painful the procedure seemed. For the kids they used visual scales (pictures of painful faces) to demonstrate degree of pain.
There have been numerous studies done in previous years looking at methods to reduce pain during simple office visits for immunizations. Strategies from the use of topical anesthetics (EMLA cream), to sucking on sucrose dipped nipples for babies, to blowing bubbles to distract patients have all been used.
In many of these cases the cost or time involved in these strategies was prohibitive for routine use in a busy office or clinic setting But, in this study, the time and cost was NONE as the children were taught to give one BIG cough prior to the injection and then coughed again at the time of injection. What a wonderful discovery! Easy, efficient and no training necessary for staff. In this study it wasn't clear that it helped all children, and interestingly it seemed to be more effective in certain racial groups than others?
In the meantime, while the academic and research docs are at work, I am going to try thi