Placebos Treat Back Pain

Many of us have heard of the “placebo effect,” in which someone who thinks he or she is getting medication is given something that’s known to have no significant physiological effect. In some cases, studies have found that placebo recipients experienced some therapeutic effect, showing how powerful thought can be.

Now, a study conducted by the International Association for the Study of Pain has found that even when both the researcher and participant know the treatment is a placebo, it can still be effective. Of 97 participants who had reported persistent back pain for more than three months, 83 completed the trial and described pain reduction on a rating scale. Using a pain scoring system of 1-10, with 1 being minimal pain and 10 being maximum pain, participants’ self-reported pain levels diminished to 1.5. The findings suggest that when an open-label placebo pill is presented in a positive way, that powerful mindset may be effective at reducing or diminishing pain.