Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Virtual analgesia - distracting the brain from pain.

BBC News's, Becky McCall reported that Dr Hunter Hoffman has created virtual worlds, designed to "immerse the user so deeply in the virtual experience that their attention is distracted away from the pain". A research fellow at the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Dr Hoffman has used these virtual worlds on victims of burns injuries during wound changes. The patient becomes so involved in the virtual experience that they are not aware of the wound being dressed, normally an excruciating ordeal. In fact what has been done is create a demanding and in this instance, pleasurable experience to dominate brain inputs, leaving little opportunity for incoming pain signals, tapping in to the GATE theory. Ms McCall reports that "this suggests that higher order thought processes descend the spinal cord and influence the amount of pain allowed to enter the brain".

This really interests me because just this week I've been struggling to resolve a lower back flare up with classic CRPS burning, hypersensitivity, vascular changes etc. However I woke up Saturday morning with a streaming nose from a fairly extreme dose of hay fever.

The miraculous thing was the back pain was gone.

Yesterday morning the hay fever was completely gone but the back was burning again.

I got stuck in to mirror therapy and things are almost calmed again.
I'm not sure if hay fever can be considered higher order processing but I do know the constant sneezing and streaming nose were pretty dominating. Some members of my google group have noticed the same thing happen to them. This lends weight to the new understanding of the part the brain plays in pain.

To read this article and learn more go to the link to the left of this blog under "articles of interest".


Lover of Life said...

Thank you for sharing such an interesting and informative article. Your site has been a wonderful addition to my virtual world--knowledge is power and empowers!

jeisea said...

Thank you "lover of life" for visiting and taking the time to read my blog. Each thing we do for ourselves empowers us. Hopefully there is something here that will give you the opportunity to do something to help yourself.

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