Weirdest Trick Ever – Stops Back Pain FAST! Why & How to Do It Now

By on October 31, 2016
Normally when people take a placebo, researchers expect them to report feeling better, unaware they are taking a useless supplement.

But what if people knew they were taking a pill that doesn’t provide any benefits?

That’s a question researchers wanted to answer in a new study reported in the journal Pain. As it turned out, it didn’t matter if they knew–at least for those dealing with chronic back pain.

“This could be especially useful in conditions with medical treatments that do not provide enough benefit,” says Irving Kirsch, Ph.D., a researcher from Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “Anything that boosts that would be helpful. The take-home message is that prescribing placebo openly is a possibility, although we need to look more at what conditions that’s true for in order to replicate the results.”

For the study, researchers recruited 97 adults who reported having low back pain for at least 3 months, considered chronic. They then split them into two groups, with one group given placebo pills to consume twice daily, which they were told were ineffective. The other group continued their regular treatment plan.

Astonishingly, despite knowing they were taking placebo pills, their back pain improved significantly. A pain scale system later confirmed this.

Researchers explain their findings below:

“Pain severity was assessed on three 0- to 10-point Numeric Rating Scales, scoring maximum pain, minimum pain, and usual pain, and a composite, primary outcome, total pain score.  A reduction in pain of 27.9% has been found to correspond to clinical ratings of ‘much improved’ and a 30% reduction has been recommended as an indication [of] clinical significance.”

In addition to these findings, the placebo group had a nearly 30 percent reduction of disability caused by back pain. It’s not a response researchers expected–but they hope to use these findings for a good cause.

One of these causes may include prescribing placebos as part of a standard back pain care regimen.

“One possibility is to use an open-label placebo treatment as a ‘wait and watch’ strategy before prescribing strong opioids, which are often associated with serious adverse events,” says Gustavo Machado, a Sydney Medical School George Institute for Global Health researcher. “More studies are needed before this management approach becomes applicable in clinical practice.”

As for what this means for you, some experts believe this illustrates the power of having a set routine when it comes to managing back pain. So if you haven’t already, develop a daily routine–and stick to it.

“Therefore, what this study really shows is that the information provided to patients and the predictable ritual of taking a pill are important components of care,” says Machado.

Readers: What are your tips for dealing with low back pain?

Taking a Placebo, Even Knowingly, May Decrease Chronic Lower Back
Open-Label Placebo Treatment in Chronic Low Back Pain (Study)

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