During an annual conference of Society for Neuroscience, a team of researchers has reported that patients with arthritis can be eased up with the pain when their brain is tricked. The conclusion was drawn by the researchers after they conducted a small study over just eight patients.
During the course of the study, the researchers tried to reduce the pain of phantom-limb of the patients who just had an amputation. The patients’ brain was tricked by showing them in mirror the movement of someone else’s limb. When the brain recorded the movement of limb in the mirror, it perceived it to be body’s limb and the pain gradually decreased.
It has been informed that as a part of the study, the researchers asked rheumatoid arthritis patients to sit in front of the mirror and to move their hands. While patients moved their hands, researchers extended their hand over the patients and mimicked the movement of their hand.
It was found that while the researchers moved their hand in accordance to the movement of the patients’ hand, the pain being suffered by the arthritis patients reduced, significantly. The patients were asked to measure the pain on the scale of 1 to 10. Some of the patients reported of 3 level decline in their pain.
The researchers are of the view that when patients see healthy hand making similar movement like theirs then the psychological impact of brain reduces significantly. There are about 50 million Americans who are suffering from arthritis. In the coming years, the researchers would be conducting mirror therapy on larger scale. They are hopeful that this therapy would help arthritis patients to overcome pain.
While concluding the study, the led researcher, Laura Case said, “Our findings suggest that simple and inexpensive materials like mirrors could be used to reduce the pain and suffering caused by this common disease. Many patients reported a reduction in pain and stiffness during this illusion”.