New research from scientists at University College London (UCL) and the University of Milano-Bicocca Italy, reveal that just looking at your body can decrease pain you are feeling.
The research demonstrates that viewing your hand decreases pain when a hot object touches the skin. In addition, the amount of pain is dependent on how large the hand looks. The larger the hand the more effect of decreasing pain.
Head researcher Flavia Mancini, states the image the brain forms of our own body has a strong effect on the level of pain felt. The way the body is represented effects the amount of pain experienced.
Eighteen participants were involved in the study. They all had a heat probe placed on the left hand. The temperature of the probe was slowly increased. Participants stopped the heat by pressing a foot petal as soon as pain was felt. Scientists had used a set of mirrors to manage what participants had seen during the experiment. Participants had always looked to their left hand. However, they either saw their own hand or a wooden object at where the hand would normally be.
Researchers discovered that simply looking at the hand decreased pain levels. The pain threshold was around 3 C greater when looking at the hand in comparison to looking at another object.
Next, researchers used curved and rounded mirrors to show the hand either enlarged or reduced size. When participants viewed the hand as enlarged they could endure more levels of heat from the probe before reporting pain. When the hand had been seen smaller than normal, participants reported pain at lower levels of heat in comparison to seeing the hand at normal size.
Researchers advocate that the pain experience goes up in parts of the brain that represent the size of the body. The visual trick used by the researchers could have effected the brains spatial maps of skin. The findings advocate that pain processing is closely associated to the brain maps of skin.
Numerous psychological therapies for pain concentrate on painful stimulus such as altering expectations or using distraction techniques. In an example, many people look away when having a blood test, we are told it will hurt less if we do not watch. Professor Patrick Haggard states that their study suggests people should look at their arm but try and not to see the needle if possible.
Other alternative treatments for pain relief
Chiropractic care is excellent at the elimination or reduction of many types of pain. It is utmost effective in the area of chronic pain which results from nervous system irritation, injury or damage due to the action on the nerve roots. Chiropractic is effective in bringing back normal functioning of muscles, joints, vascular system and the elimination of the root causes of the pain.
Chiropractors are trained in numerous therapies including trigger point therapy. They also have training in nutritional supplements and have the ability to prescribe vitamins, minerals, supplements and even herbs to strengthen the overall treatment.
Acupuncture is used for various kinds of pain. Back pain is the most usual type treated followed by joint pain, neck and headache.
Acupuncture studies have been done and found it does have the ability to reduce many types of pain. The most promising findings have been associated to back pain and osteoarthritis of the knee. Acupuncture is a totally safe treatment when done by a licensed acupuncturist. Sources:
Medical News Today
National Center for Alternative and Complimentary Medicine