Pain relief effectiveness down to mind-set?

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Pain Relief Drug Response

Research by the Human Pain Research Group at The University of Manchester suggests that people's responses to placebo or "dummy" pain relief varies according to their way of thinking.

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40 pain-free volunteers took part in an experiment funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign using an artificial pain stimulus, and were led to expect reduced pain after the application of a cream which was actually a placebo.

Lead researcher Alison Watson said: "Any medical treatment involves a placebo element; the psychological suggestion that it is going to work. So we theorised that a proportion of any treatment's effectiveness would relate to how much we wanted it to work, believed in it or trusted the person administering it.

"Doctors and nurses can transmit a lot of information about a treatment and its effectiveness through their words and gestures. We know that when people visit their preferred GP the treatment or advice they receive will be more effective than that given by a GP they prefer not to see.

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