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Migraine Study Placebo Effect: New Study Shows The Power of Positive Thinking Makes Migraine Medicine Work

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First Posted: Jan 09, 2014 06:46 PM EST
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(Photo : Flickr: Dvortygirl)

A new study has proven that positive thinking might just be the answer to curing a migraine. You know how they say that some pain is just "all in your head?" Well, it might be true. Harvard professor Ted Kaptchuk explains what he found during this study.

Boston researchers recruited 66 migraine patients to test out how much of the painful disease was relieved by medication or a simple "healing power of positive belief," the placebo effect. At the culmination of the study they found out that it is indeed important for Doctors to choose their words carefully when recommending new medicine. The "positivity" of their words or tone can either enhance or tarnish the effects of the medication on the patient.

"Every word you say counts, not only every gram of the medication," said Professor Ted Kaptchuk, who led the study with a team at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. "First, the patients who suffer regular migraines agreed to forgo pain relievers for several hours during one attack, recording their symptoms for comparison with later headaches".

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The experiment than required for the patient's next six migraines to be treated with a different pill inside an envelope with a different message. Some of the patients were told that they were taking a pill name "rizatriptan," a positive message. Others were told that they were given a placebo and while the rest weren't told anything, just given a pill that could be real or not. Sometimes it was true that they were given "rizatriptan" but other times it was a lie to see how the patients reacted.

While the "real pill" did relief the pain, sufferers who were given the placebo claiming it was "rizatriptan" reported double the pain relief than those who were told it was simply a "fake pill." "In fact, people reported nearly as much pain relief when they took a placebo that they thought was the real drug as they did when they took the migraine drug while believing it was fake."

"The more we gave a positive message to the patient, the bigger the placebo effect was," Kaptchuk said.

So Doctors, be sure to choose your medicine carefully as you only know how to do, but remember to put a smile to it. Give the patient confidence that this method will work, installing a positive touch into their minds that will ultimately boost the affects of the remedy. Remember "mind over matter," people.   

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