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Mirror Therapy May Help To Reduce The Pain Of Arthritis

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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 03:56 PM
Original message
Mirror Therapy May Help To Reduce The Pain Of Arthritis

"Scientists have demonstrated a cheap and simple therapy that uses an optical illusion to ease joint pain and stiffness in people with arthritis. The results of a small pilot study suggest the technique could help millions of people who experience the pain of inflamed joints without resorting to higher doses of painkillers and steroids, the most common drugs used to treat the condition.

The therapy draws on a technique called mirror visual therapy to convince patients' brains that their sore and stiff joints are pain-free and easy to move. The technique, which uses an optical illusion, has already proved extremely effective in relieving the pain that some amputees feel in their "phantom limbs".


In a preliminary trial presented as a poster at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington DC on Sunday, eight patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis were given one minute of mirror therapy after ranking the pain in their joints on a 10-point scale.

On average, the patients ranked their pain one and a half points lower during the therapy, with some patients down-rating their pain by three points. The results have yet to be peer-reviewed.



Yes, it's all rather preliminary, but I'll keep my fingers crossed.

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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:04 PM
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1. Yes. Even my bent one.
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enough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:15 PM
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2. I experience this all the time in Zumba class.
Here's the description of the experiment:


To treat a person with an arthritic right hand, the patient first put their hand on the table in front of them. The researchers then positioned an upright mirror so that their forearm and hand were hidden behind it.

Next, one of the researchers stood behind the patient and put their own left hand down on the table. The patient could now see the researcher's hand and its reflection in the mirror.

The optical illusion occurred when the researcher opened and closed their left hand and asked the patient to mimic the movement with their hidden hand. When the patient looked into the mirror, they saw a reflection of the researcher's hand, but the brain took it to be their own. The visual trick seems to help the brain to reassess the hand as a healthy and pain-free part of the body.


So, in my Zumba class (latin-dance aerobics) I get to dance to fabulous music while watching the instructor who is a great young person with all kinds of energy and flexibility. So while I'm dancing, following her moves, some part of me is imagining that I'm moving my 67-year-old carcass the same way she is. My sore knees, hips, and ankles forget to be sore. It WORKS! And the more you do it, the more it works.

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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. it does. its great
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Sal Minella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 04:41 PM
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4. This is just way cool, yeah!!! n/t
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badhair77 Donating Member (183 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Thanks for your example.
I will try this.
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. On the TV show _House_, House used that method to help relieve the
agonizing pain and nonfunctionality of a vet's hand.
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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-11 08:18 PM
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8. I wish someone would try some virtual reality type devices
The idea would be that there would be different sizes and types of virtual people, with different hair styles, etc. You would pick your body type and then enter a photo, and that would be the virtual you! Then you watch through goggles as the virtual you does things perfectly, even microscopically. If you had an aching back you could program into it for the virtual you to be able to lift things, etc. Then there might be part of it where you could do EMDR. A virtual you could climb to the top of a ladder and look down. That could maybe get rid of fear of heights. But the idea would be to try it for a wide variety of ailments and see what worked. Certainly vets with PTSD might benefit. There would probably be various uniform types and you could program war conditions into it--showing people mentally whole after war conditions.

Maybe taking that drug that is good for PTSD at the same time the virtual reality session is running would help.

I think this has a lot of potential.
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:52 PM
Response to Original message
7. Sounds very similar to a procedure for treating "phantom limb" pain ...
which often affects amputees. See Ramachandran's "Phantoms in the Brain".
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