Living Like You | Music and MS. What’s the connection?

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Woman dancing with headphones

In his big song “Music” in 1976, John Miles wrote: “Music is my first love – and it will be my last”. I love music, it has been making me happy since I was a kid listening to “German Schlager”, and later as a teenager, to my first radio shows and buying my first album by ‘Wham!’. It drove my parents mad. But to live without music? That’s not something I can do. 

I have a playlist for a lot of different situations. Relaxed ones to calm down, or electronic dance music if I need motivation or when I am exercising. It makes silent corners my personal dance floor. Sometimes I go to a karaoke bar when I need to sing, because some songs are made for singing! It is also good for my Multiple Sclerosis (MS) as it helps to expand the lungs and practice breathing techniques. 

Music is my ongoing companion, my best friend and it is always with me. Sometimes I put my headphones in, turn the music on and do a little dance in my office if I need inspiration or a moment to relax and forget the world for a while. It helps me to calm down, change my perspective and step back from the things I have to do. It helps me to find a new viewpoint and see things differently to help me come up with new solutions.

Researchers have found many different ways that music can help your life. Below are some interesting facts about music and the way it can positively impact your MS:

Psychological impact

When we talk about music, we also talk about music therapy. An unusual, but very helpful, form of therapy. Researchers have found many benefits of music for people living with MS. It is not just about getting out of the house or doing something new. Music therapy can help with depression, anxiety, confidence, communication skills and helps us to accept who we are1,2

Pain management

Studies indicate that music can help to manage pain. It has been found that patients who listened to music before, during and after a surgery experienced less pain and also healed faster than others2

A great team: music, MS, sports and you!

For exercise, I have a list with upbeat songs to keep the rhythm of my steps smooth and to allow me to exercise for longer. It helps to coordinate my steps and arms when Nordic walking. Studies and scientists confirm this – walking becomes smoother with music3. Walking to a beat or singing along to your music also helps improves your mood4

When I listen to music during exercise, I can feel my body working. Feeling exhausted after sport is OK, it feels good. It’s a “good” exhaustion that you feel when you did something for your body. 

Music and the brain

Scientists say that music has a positive impact on people living with MS and other neurological conditions, as it improves perception, performance, and language3. Learning or playing music increases brain efficiency and reduces the number of neuronal units needed to encode information3. I certainly find this - I am more creative, productive and can think better if I have music around me. 

Social life

Music can be used as a way to meet new people. There are many online seminars, groups and apps to meet other musicians and play together. I know a lot of friends who have joined online meeting groups to discuss music, play instruments and sing songs together to have a good time.  

Can you feel the beat? 

Music keeps you in a good mood. The right song in the right moment helps me to find my way back to myself, calms me down or makes me more motivated and creative. To feel the rhythm in my body feels good and makes me smile, because I feel like me. So turn on the music and turn off MS for a while. 

From my experience, music can be like a good medicine





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