Monday, August 28, 2006

Mirrors - something worth trying

Going back two weeks I was in agony on my left side. What started in my shoulder quickly included my head, eye, teeth, body, leg and foot. My nerves were firing and I was nauseous with the pain. I cannot take medication and going on past experience I knew this would last for weeks. Some weeks ago a physiotherapist I had been seeing bailed me up in the local shopping centre. He was excited about a conference he'd been to about "the virtual body" and the relationship of the brain to pain. He offered to loan me "Explain Pain" by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley. I read the book which explains very well how the brain is changed in the case of chronic pain. It mentioned that children who are born without limbs can feel those limbs. Phantom pain is well known so it is easy to understand that it is the brain that feels pain. In crps the brain chronically and excessively feels pain. There is much research in various countries on mirror therapy for chronic pain. This was explained in enough detail in this book for me to work how to use the method. Previously I've had general body and back pain but not extreme pain in one side of the body. So two weeks ago I stood side on to a stand alone mirror and watched my mirror image while I moved my right arm from my side, up and above my headand down again. I did this 10 times all the time watching my mirror image, my left side hidden behind the mirror. I felt my left shoulder relax and put it down to distraction. An hour or so later I noticed the edge had gone off the pain and with it the nausea. A couple of hours later I repeated the process just as before. I was aware that evening that I was in less pain. I repeated the exercise the next day and day after and by the third day the pain was only in my shoulder as it originally was. Then my right leg became very painful. I tried the mirror trick only hiding my right side and moved my left leg (which was by then pain free). I didn't feel the leg relaxed as I had with the shoulder but the pain was a little less. Again I repeated the exercise and after a few days the leg returned to normal.

What I do works for me. Seek advice of treating professionals.

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