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Abstract

Health care providers are expected both to relieve pain and to provide anticipatory guidance regarding how much a procedure is going to hurt. Fulfilling those expectations is complicated by the cognitive modulation of pain perception. Warning people to expect pain or setting expectations for pain relief not only influences their subjective experience, but it also alters how nociceptive stimuli are processed throughout the sensory and discriminative pathways in the brain. In light of this, I reconsider the characterization of placebo analgesia as pharmacologically inert and the use of it as deceptive. I show that placebo analgesia exploits the same physical mechanisms as proven analgesics and argue that it should be utilized to relieve pain. Additionally, I describe factors to help identify situations in which clinicians have the obligation to disclose the potential for pain coupled with ways of mitigating the risk of high-intensity pain by setting positive expectations.

Forthcoming events

Richard Doll Seminar: Design and analysis of prevalence surveys in low-resource settings

Tuesday, 25 February 2020, 1pm to 2pm @ Richard Doll Lecture Theatre, Richard Doll Building, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

WEH/Ethox Seminar

Wednesday, 26 February 2020, 11am to 12.30pm @ Seminar room 0, Big Data Institute, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

HERC Seminar: Learning healthcare systems for cost-effective precision oncology.

Thursday, 27 February 2020, 12pm to 1pm @ Seminar room 0, Big Data Institute, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

The Global Response to the Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) Outbreak

Thursday, 27 February 2020, 2.30pm to 4pm @ Seminar rooms, Big Data Institute

Richard Doll Seminar: The Risk of Everything – using linked electronic health records to develop and validate risk prediction tools for use in clinical care

Tuesday, 03 March 2020, 1pm to 2pm @ Richard Doll Lecture Theatre, Richard Doll Building, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

WEH/Ethox Seminar: Building research capacity through North-South Partnerships: some ethical reflections and a social justice agenda

Wednesday, 04 March 2020, 11am to 12.30pm @ Seminar room 0, Big Data Institute, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF