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Visual distortion of a limb modulates the pain and swelling evoked by movement

PainSci » bibliography » Moseley et al 2008
Tags: chronic pain, biology, pain problems

Two articles on PainSci cite Moseley 2008: 1. Pain is Weird2. Mind Over Pain

PainSci notes on Moseley 2008:

Trippy: swelling and inflammation in a limb can be increased by magnifying a patient’s view of it — and reduced by the reverse.

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

The feeling that our body is ours, and is constantly there, is a fundamental aspect of self-awareness. Although it is often taken for granted, our physical self-awareness, or body image, is disrupted in many clinical conditions. One common disturbance of body image, in which one limb feels bigger than it really is, can also be induced in healthy volunteers by using local anaesthesia or cutaneous stimulation. Here we report that, in patients with chronic hand pain, magnifying their view of their own limb during movement significantly increases the pain and swelling evoked by movement. By contrast, minifying their view of the limb significantly decreases the pain and swelling evoked by movement. These results show a top-down effect of body image on body tissues, thus demonstrating that the link between body image and the tissues is bi-directional.

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