Alternative MS Treatments: Music Therapy

  • I have no doubts that traditional medical treatments such as disease-modifying medicines and physical therapy are helping to control Multiple Sclerosis and its effects on my body.


    But I know from my personal experience there is one alternative type of treatment and therapy that has made all the difference in helping to control MS and its effects on my attitude.  For me, it’s the music and lyrics of Bruce Springsteen that are helping me to rise above and stay mentally and emotionally ahead of each challenge MS poses each day.


    It turns out this is about something that goes beyond The Boss and me. It’s about music therapy.

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:


    According to the American Music Therapy Association music therapy is, “… an established health service similar to occupational therapy and physical therapy and consists of using music therapeutically to address physical, psychological, cognitive and/or social functioning for patients of all ages.”


    Dr. Allen C. Bowling is the medical director of the Multiple Sclerosis Service and director of the Comple­mentary and Alternative Medicine Service at the Colorado Neurological Institute. Bowling also is clinical associate professor of neurology at the Uni­versity of Colorado-Denver Health Sciences Center and has written several books including Complementary and Alternative Medi­cine and Multiple Sclerosis.


    On Bowling’s website, it is reported thatmusic therapy is a low cost, low risk treatment option that may help ease some MS-associated symptoms. It states that, “Large-scale, rigorous clinical studies have not been conducted, but the limited work available suggests some possible benefits.”


    It’s interesting to note that since my diagnosis and connecting with others who have MS, music therapy hasn’t directly come up as a possible treatment option to consider.


    It didn’t have to.


    I have no scientific data or research to support my claim. I just know from my life with MS that music therapy – more specifically the music of Bruce Springsteen – has worked for me.


    I had turned to The Boss daily for the past two decades for habitual shots of audiological energy. It wasn’t until after I was diagnosed with MS that I realized the subtle healing power of his music’s beat, drive and lyrics, which have helped me to stay positive and persevere, move past self-pity and believe in myself beyond the disease.


    His line from Darkness on the Edge of Town is my mantra that reminds me to be strong and bring my best every day: “Tonight I’ll be on that hill ’cause I can’t stop; I’ll be on that hill with everything I’ve got.”


    The beauty of music is that it’s subjective and what works for me may not work for you. Music is all around us. Listen, experience and embrace the sounds, melodies, harmonies, lyrics and verses that will help you cope with and move forward with this disease.


    Find your music and make it your own.

Published On: May 23, 2011