Listening to music could help substantially ease the pain of osteoarthritis, say researchers.
Osteoarthritis is relatively common
Scientists in Florida found just a 20-minute session once a day was enough for patients to report a two-thirds reduction in pain levels.
The researchers believe music could also help people with other chronic conditions.
The research, published in the Journal for Advanced Nursing, was based on tests on 68 elderly patients.
Half spent two weeks listening to music for 20 minutes a day and the others spent 20 minutes sitting quietly.
A scientific analysis of pain levels found that pain levels in the music group were cut by 50%.
Lead researcher Professor Ruth McCaffrey, from the Florida Atlantic University College of Nursing, said: "The group who listened to music experienced a significant decrease in pain, with the amount of natural pain relief increasing over the 14-day listening period.
"This is because music is thought to release endorphins, which reduce pain, decrease blood pressure, the heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen consumption."
Useful at home
She said music was an ideal therapy as it could easily be used in community settings, including the patient's own home.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis.
It is caused by the breakdown of protective tissue called cartilage in the joints.
A spokeswoman for the Arthritis Research Campaign told BBC News Online: "Music can be very soothing and relaxing, and may take your mind off your pain for a little while.
"As a coping strategy music may have its place, along with the likes of relaxation and aromatherapy.
"However, to suggest that it can reduce the pain of osteoarthritis by 50% stretches credulity a little and should not be taken terribly seriously."