Chronic back pain is the second most common cause of incapacity to work in Germany. © iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia
Will that help me too? Positive treatment expectations through observation in patients with back pain
Positive expectations of a treatment can influence the sensation of pain and the efficacy of medication. But how can we selectively control patient expectations? Early studies indicate that simply observing successfully treated patients has a positive effect on one's own treatment expectations and changes the sensation of pain. This project will investigate this in patients with chronic back pain, with the long-term objective of improving treatment outcomes and reducing the use of medication.
Optimisation of treatment expectations in patients with chronic back pain through observation of others
This project will systematically vary patient expectations of treatment by showing them a positive or neutral treatment outcome in other patients. The effect of this expectation modulation on treatment outcome will be studied using analgesics or open-label placebos. In order to obtain both clinical and mechanistic data, the two factors – expectation and treatment – will be fully crossed. This will enable us to investigate the potential interaction effects of expectation and pharmacological analgesia.
Schmitz J, Müller M, Stork J, Eichler I, Zöllner C, Flor H, Klinger R (2019) Positive Treatment Expectancies Reduce Clinical Pain and Perceived Limitations in Movement Ability Despite Increased Experimental Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial on Sham Opioid Infusion in Patients with Chronic Back Pain. Psychother Psychosom 88(4):203-214. PubMed
Klinger R, Matter N, Kothe R, Dahme B, Hofmann U, Krug F (2010) Unconditioned and Conditioned Muscular Responses in Patients with Chronic Back Pain and Chronic Tension-Type Headaches and in Healthy Controls. Pain 150 66-74. PubMed
Christiansen S, Oettingen G, Dahme B, Klinger R (2010) A short goal-pursuit intervention to improve physical capacity: A randomized clinical trial in chronic back pain patients. Pain 149 (3), 444-452. PubMed
In close cooperation with these projects
PD Dr. Regine Klinger
Dr. Till Friedheim
Clinician Scientist, Specialist in Anaesthesiology
Psychologist, Study Coordinator