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PLoS One. 2014 Sep 11;9(9):e107376. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107376. eCollection 2014.

Negative body image associated with changes in the visual body appearance increases pain perception.

Author information

1
Department of Neurorehabilitation, Graduate School of Health Science, Kio University, Nara, Japan; Neurocognitive Rehabilitation Center, Setsunan General Hospital, Osaka, Japan.
2
Department of Neurorehabilitation, Graduate School of Health Science, Kio University, Nara, Japan.

Abstract

Changing the visual body appearance by use of as virtual reality system, funny mirror, or binocular glasses has been reported to be helpful in rehabilitation of pain. However, there are interindividual differences in the analgesic effect of changing the visual body image. We hypothesized that a negative body image associated with changing the visual body appearance causes interindividual differences in the analgesic effect although the relationship between the visual body appearance and analgesic effect has not been clarified. We investigated whether a negative body image associated with changes in the visual body appearance increased pain. Twenty-five healthy individuals participated in this study. To evoke a negative body image, we applied the method of rubber hand illusion. We created an "injured rubber hand" to evoke unpleasantness associated with pain, a "hairy rubber hand" to evoke unpleasantness associated with embarrassment, and a "twisted rubber hand" to evoke unpleasantness associated with deviation from the concept of normality. We also created a "normal rubber hand" as a control. The pain threshold was measured while the participant observed the rubber hand using a device that measured pain caused by thermal stimuli. Body ownership experiences were elicited by observation of the injured rubber hand and hairy rubber hand as well as the normal rubber hand. Participants felt more unpleasantness by observing the injured rubber hand and hairy rubber hand than the normal rubber hand and twisted rubber hand (p<0.001). The pain threshold was lower under the injured rubber hand condition than with the other conditions (p<0.001). We conclude that a negative body appearance associated with pain can increase pain sensitivity.

PMID:
25210738
PMCID:
PMC4161431
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0107376
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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