We’ve all heard that psychological factors such as positive thinking may significantly affect the results of treatment for an illness. Consider stories of ‘miracle cures’ by terminal cancer patients who kept their spirits up and were persistent with that ‘never give up’ attitude throughout treatment.
A study in the journal Spine suggested that pessimistic thinkers may have trouble recovering from low back pain. The authors looked at the relationship between patient expectations of treatment benefits and outcomes. One hundred thirty-five patients with chronic LBP were divided into either a massage or an acupuncture treatment group. Prior to the study, patients rated how helpful they expected their treatment to be on a scale from 0-10 (10 being extremely helpful).
Participants with higher expectations experienced less pain in 86 % of cases, while patients with low expectations only improved in 68 % of cases. Odds of improvement were five times greater for the high-expectation group than the low-expectation group. Patients who expected benefit from one treatment, as opposed to the other, improved more from that particular treatment.
What does this teach us? Don’t let your health concerns get you down! Positive thinking or an optimistic attitude may have a great impact on treatment success.
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