Bogus visual feedback alters onset of movement-evoked pain in people with neck pain

Daniel S Harvie, Markus Broecker, Ross T Smith, Ann Meulders, Victoria J Madden, G Lorimer Moseley

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Abstract

Pain is a protective perceptual response shaped by contextual, psychological, and sensory inputs that suggest danger to the body. Sensory cues suggesting that a body part is moving toward a painful position may credibly signal the threat and thereby modulate pain. In this experiment, we used virtual reality to investigate whether manipulating visual proprioceptive cues could alter movement-evoked pain in 24 people with neck pain. We hypothesized that pain would occur at a lesser degree of head rotation when visual feedback overstated true rotation and at a greater degree of rotation when visual feedback understated true rotation. Our hypothesis was clearly supported: When vision overstated the amount of rotation, pain occurred at 7% less rotation than under conditions of accurate visual feedback, and when vision understated rotation, pain occurred at 6% greater rotation than under conditions of accurate visual feedback. We concluded that visual-proprioceptive information modulated the threshold for movement-evoked pain, which suggests that stimuli that become associated with pain can themselves trigger pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-392
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes

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Harvie, D. S., Broecker, M., Smith, R. T., Meulders, A., Madden, V. J., & Moseley, G. L. (2015). Bogus visual feedback alters onset of movement-evoked pain in people with neck pain. Psychological Science, 26(4), 385-392. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797614563339