Study Shows Doctors’ Expectations Can Influence Pain Relief

Home » Study Shows Doctors’ Expectations Can Influence Pain Relief
October 23, 2019
Edward Smith

Confidence in Treatment Plan is Vital

Millions of people in the United States live with chronic pain daily. This pain can make it hard for people to get out of bed in the morning and go about their everyday lives.

A new study published in the well-respected journal Nature: Human Behavior, shows that when visiting the doctor for help with chronic pain or discomfort, it is essential to be optimistic. According to the study, everyone involved needs to remain hopeful. This could make a difference in someone’s overall level of pain relief after the visit. Confidence in the treatment plan is vital to success.

A History of Context Clues and the Placebo Effect

While this might sound like a novel concept, it is an extension of an idea that scientists have known for decades. Studies going back to the mid-1900s have shown that doctors’ expectations regarding the success of a treatment plan can influence the patient’s recovery process. This is called the placebo effect. In actuality, this concept is still reflected in many modern studies.

In research, it is important to prevent the doctors’ expectations from influencing the response of any individual patient. This has led to the advent of double-blind research studies. This means that neither the doctor nor the patient knows if the treatment is the experimental or the placebo. This prevents accidental bias (the placebo effect) from tainting the results. Based on this new research, this could be used to the advantage of those who suffer from chronic pain.

The Design of the Research Study on Pain Relief

In the research, the placebo effect was used to help patients who suffer from chronic pain. Researchers conducted a study with two groups of people. One group played the role of patients who were in pain. The other group was assigned to play the role of the doctor. The doctors were told to administer a pain-relieving cream treatment to the patients.

The study was conducted twice with two different creams. In the first instance, the doctors were not told anything about the cream. In the second instance, the doctors were told that the medicine would work as an effective pain treatment method. The results of the study showed that patients reported more pain relief during the second treatment than the first, likely feeling the optimism coming from the doctor. This is the placebo effect at work.

Future Directions

The placebo effect has been well-documented for nearly 100 years. At the same time, it is still interesting to see its effects play out so effectively in a research study. The results show that patients are more likely to experience pain relief if their doctor has confidence in the treatment being provided.

More studies need to be conducted using patients with a long history of chronic pain. If the results continue to hold throughout multiple studies, this might change the way medical professionals treat pain. The results of this study provide hope for countless people who suffer from daily discomfort.

Watch YouTube Video: How the Placebo Effect Tricks Your Brain. The video below explains how your brain tricks itself when it comes to medicinal treatment.

Modesto Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto Personal Injury Lawyer. This study shows that everyone, including the patient, should be confident when they visit their doctor for pain relief. Anyone who is suffering from chronic pain following an injury due to the negligence of another person should contact me at (209) 227-1931 and/or (916) 921-6400 to receive free, friendly advice.

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