Neuromodulation: More Than a Placebo Effect?

Sophie W. Kjær; Andrew S.C. Rice; Karolina Wartolowska; Lene Vase


Pain. 2020;16(3):491-495. 

In This Article


The evidence underlying neuromodulation techniques in chronic pain conditions is promising, but further research using designs including improved control conditions are warranted. Because biases, spontaneous remission, and placebo effects all seem to contribute to the effects of neuromodulation, future research and trials of neuromodulation would benefit from the inclusion of placebo controls. In this article, we have discussed how the continuous development of neuromodulation technology generates opportunities for better placebo controls and more successful blinding. To move the research field forward, we need to consider which demands we want to make for the evidence of efficacy in these types of procedures in present and future evaluations. This work would further elaborate our understanding of treatment mechanisms as well as optimization of treatment in clinical practice.