Visual feedback alters onset of movement-evoked pain
Pain is influenced by the world around us, as we integrate contextual, psychological and sensory inputs that may suggest danger to the body. The aim of this study was to investigate whether non-nociceptive sensory information may contribute to pain in people with neck pain.
Twenty-four subjects with neck participated in this study. Participants sat in supportive chairs and wore headphones and head mounted displays (HMD). The HDM displayed a virtual world and participants were asked to rotate their head slowly to the left and the right (returning to the centre) and to stop at the onset of pain. The hypotheses was that pain would occur at a lesser degree of head rotation when visual feedback overstated true rotation and at a greater degree of rotation when visual feedback understated true rotation
When vision overstated the amount of rotation, self reported pain occurred at 7% less rotation than under conditions of accurate visual feedback, and when vision understated rotation, pain occurred at 6% greater rotation than under conditions of accurate visual feedback.
The results suggest that visual-proprioceptive feedback has the ability to modulate pain thresholds in people with neck pain. This raises the possibility of novel experimental and therapeutic applications.
> From: Harvie et al., Psychol Sci (2015) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to The Author(s). Click here for the Pubmed summary.