In this issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Pain Valentina Ružić and co-workers publish an interesting and important study documenting how expectations of a painful stimulus can have an impressive effect on how intensely painful the stimulus is consciously experienced by a person . They demonstrate how positive and negative expectations mobilize potent mental mechanisms. Their study took place in a psychology laboratory with exactly controlled stimulus-intensities, and they exposed the subjects to well-defined positive or negative expectations of what they would experience.1Important implications for clinical practiceThese observations have clear implications for our daily clinical pain practice: There are always context sensitive therapeutic effects in patient-carer therapeutic relationships; the patient’s expectations of effects are strongly influenced by the contextual or environmental cues that surround any medical intervention, the therapeutic milieu in which therapy takes place.2The predictions we make about a therapy are part of the therapyImportantly: we cannot avoid influencing our patients’ expectations of what we are administering: if the patients understand that we are convinced that a drug or another intervention will help, this will boost the positive effect. By neglecting this we may miss a possibility to improve the outcome. And this is not a transient “placebo-effect”:
Scandinavian Journal of Pain – de Gruyter
Published: Dec 29, 2017
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