Effectiveness of Placebo Interventions for Patients With Nonspecific Low Back Pain

A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Rob H.W. Strijkers; Marco Schreijenberg; Heike Gerger; Bart W. Koes; Alessandro Chiarotto


Pain. 2021;162(12):2792-2804. 

In This Article


Placebo interventions in any form seem to be mildly effective in reducing pain intensity in patients with chronic nonspecific LBP at short-term follow-up compared with no intervention. The reduction in pain intensity of 8 points on a 0 to 100 pain scale was statistically significant but may be of limited clinical relevance. Results are independent of the actual type of placebo intervention. A small difference was seen in physical functioning outcome between placebo and no intervention, but this difference may also not be clinically relevant. Placebo intervention improved the physical summary component score of the Short-Form 36 compared with no intervention.