Rubber hand

Rubber hand can really make the difference in what you see and feel?  According to recent research, believed that up to 88% of those who have amputated limbs feel phantom limb pain (1). Described as a painful sensation that referred to in the amputated limb.  It’s something that researchers have been trying to find relief for over the years.

New research suggests that what we see can have an influence on what we feel even when it comes to amputated limbs.

New research published in the September 2017 issue of The Journal of Pain focused on showing that people can be tricked into feeling pain or relief through a rubber hand illusion (2). To conduct the study, researchers took 20 participants and they used a rubber hand to create an illusion. They used it as an illusion and a thermode to deliver pain stimulation to the person’s real arm. While they delivered the pain stimulation to the real arm, there was a thermode connected to the rubber hand. Each time they would deliver stimulation to the real arm, the thermode on the rubber hand would light up.

What they found was that many of the participants reported feeling pain sensation, but coming from the rubber hand. Taking the study one step further, the researchers then used a fake pain relief cream.  Its a placebo and rubbed it on the rubber hand where the person reported experiencing the pain. The people who had felt the pain coming from the rubber hand then reported that the pain decreased once the fake pain to relieve cream applied.

Their research shows that the rubber hand creates an illusion and the brain changes to accommodate it. The brain changes the way it responds. According to experienced. While it may surprise for many people to learn, this research shows that the brain can essentially trick into thinking that it feels pain. Even when the pain stimulation delivered to it.  As well as when given pain relief cream on it.

This study also shows that even though we know something isn’t happening, such as feeling pain in a rubber hand.  Our brain can override what we know and deliver pain messages.

This is good news not only for those who feel phantom limb pain but for those who may experience other forms of chronic pain as well. The information about how the brain can be tricked into thinking that there is pain or pain relief can be used in finding ways to treat other forms of chronic pain.

Sources:
1. Indian Journal of Palliative Care. Prevalence of Phantom Limb Pain… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5294433/

2. The Journal of Pain. Placebo Analgesia from a Rubber Hand.                                                      http://www.jpain.org/article/S1526-5900(17)30558-8/fulltext#sec3