Monday, July 10, 2006

Pain Control For Fun & Profit

When I was a boy, I read from somewhere (probably ต่วยตูน or มิติที่ 4) that people can reduce their pain by visualizing it as a ball and imagining it to be smaller and smaller. It has been a useful tip for me over two decades. I found that I can often reduce my feeling of pain by imagining my pain as a silvery ball which is slowly getting smaller and smaller. I tried fuzzy, woolly ball and also black rubber balls, but silvery balls work best for me. Also, it helps to have some time to prepare for the pain; if the pain is sudden, I have to collect my thought for a few seconds before I can start working down the pain.

Well, there is a scientific experiment that confirms that I am not crazy after all.

... Mackey and his team used fMRI to scan the brains of two groups of subjects: eight chronic pain patients and 36 healthy people who received pain via a non-harmful heat stimulus to the palm. Using state-of-the-art software, the team was able to analyze the fMRI images at the exact moments when the subjects experienced pain.

The researchers located the area of each subject's brain that responded to pain, and then allowed the subject to observe activity in that area as it occurred. Each participant was asked to "cognitively modulate" the brain signal...

... Over the course of three sessions, the patients overwhelmingly learned how to successfully modulate the signal and manage both the intensity and unpleasantness of their pain.

So, how did they do it? The researchers aren't sure.

"The challenge in this is that most people had a real difficult time describing what they were finally doing," Mackey said. "We don't really have a vernacular, a way of describing how we control our brains. When you reach out to grab a pencil, you couldn't really describe how you reached out to grab that pencil." ...

1 comment:

Kiattisak said...

I never heard of this method, will give it a try some time. :) Mine is always thinking over and over that "It's just a neural signal, just a neural signal, just a neural signal, ..." But its effect varies.

However though, it would be better not to have any pain to control at all. :)