3. A Placebo a day keeps the back pain at bay

A study published in the journal Pain shows that an “honest” placebo (one given to a patient and fully disclosed) can still influence a patient’s symptoms. The study looked at 83 people who suffered from back pain – half of the group continued their daily routine of painkillers and rest, the other half knowingly added a placebo. When asked to rate difficulty in daily activities, the placebo group noted less difficulty, which translates to less pain. But it’s not just back pain; an earlier study showed a reduction of symptoms occurring in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Sounds like some real “mind over matter” stuff going on here. While interesting, don’t expect a shift toward prescribing placebos anytime soon.