Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Changing our body image can change pain perception.

Some remarkable observations by Moseley et al. :
The feeling that our body is ours, and is constantly there, is a fundamental aspect of self-awareness. Although it is often taken for granted, our physical self-awareness, or body image, is disrupted in many clinical conditions. One common disturbance of body image, in which one limb feels bigger than it really is, can also be induced in healthy volunteers by using local anaesthesia or cutaneous stimulation. Here we report that, in patients with chronic hand pain, magnifying their view of their own limb during movement significantly increases the pain and swelling evoked by movement. By contrast, minifying their view of the limb significantly decreases the pain and swelling evoked by movement. These results show a top-down effect of body image on body tissues, thus demonstrating that the link between body image and the tissues is bi-directional.


  1. great post. i'm pretty fascinated by this bidirectional relationship. do you know if this type of research is growing/getting more attention?

  2. I see more and more references to this kind of work, but don't follow closely enough to give you more references.