Back pain is a very common problem for many, the NHS explains. The good news is that the pain is usually nothing “severe” and gets better over time. Painkillers such as ibuprofen are a popular choice for managing this unpleasant problem. But Dr. Michael Mosley is proposing a different solution that does not involve taking medication at all.
In her Daily Mail article, Dr. Mosley has shared a surprising approach to back pain – just using it to reduce your mind.
The doctor said, “Prevention is better than cure, of course, but what if you’re already suffering from chronic back pain?
“Well, there is an approach that is very cheap and works almost as well as painkillers and is virtually side effectless.
“It involves harnessing the power of the placebo effect. Oddly enough, it can work even if you know you’re taking placebo.”
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Dr. Mosley pointed out that placebo is available in all forms. The best known of these is the pill form.
However, snow surgery, where doctors open you up and sew you back together without doing anything else, is also a thing.
A placebo for managing back pain is based on relieving back pain using only the power of your mind.
Dr. Mosley tested this in a documentary on back pain.
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The documentary, which recruits more than 100 people from Blackpool with chronic pain problems, looked at the effects of placebo treatment on pain management.
Participants were told they could receive placebo or a “strong” new painkiller.
But they weren’t told that they all really get snow capsules that contain milled rice.
Dr Mosley said: “The experiment, carefully designed by Oxford University placebo expert Dr Jeremy Howick, used pills in shades of blue and white – colors that have been shown to have the greatest pain-relieving effect.
“After three weeks, more than half of the patients reported a significant reduction in pain and healing of the injury.”
Dr. Howick, who designed this experiment, emphasizes that this does not mean that people will make up for their pain, they are just “open to new experiences.”
There is more to a placebo. Dr. Mosley explained, “We know that if you take placebo and wait for a positive outcome, your body will release morphine-like substances, natural opioids.
“Now, German researchers have also found that people who respond best to placebo produce higher amounts of certain proteins in their blood, some of which are known to help control inflammation.
“Chronic inflammation, in which the immune system is constantly in a high state of alertness, is not only associated with diseases such as heart disease and cancer, but it also increases chronic pain.”
The doctor pointed out that this brings new possibilities in assessing how people respond to a placebo.
However, this treatment is unlikely to be provided by a local GP because physicians should not deceive their patients.
Dr. Mosley added, “Take a moment before swallowing your next painkiller.
“That’s why when I use paracetamol for headaches, I always say to myself, ‘this really helps,’ because I think this improves the chances that it works.”
Source: This article first appeared on Express.co.uk