Author(s): Sumitani M, Rossetti Y, Shibata M, Matsuda Y, Sakaue G,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The human visual and somatosensory systems are interdependent. Using a visual subjective body-midline (SM) judgment task, we previously confirmed that pathologic pain and deafferentation can modify visuospatial perception, indicating that altered somatosensory experience can modify visual perception. Conversely, in the present study we investigated whether a change in visual experience can modify perception of pathologic pain. METHODS: We used prism adaptation (PA) to modify subjects' visual experience. Five patients with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) adapted to wedge prisms, producing a 20-degree visual displacement toward the unaffected side. Further, we used several types of prisms in a longitudinal single-case study. Wearing prismatic goggles, the subjects performed a target-pointing task once a day for 2 weeks. We evaluated pain intensity and visual SM judgment to measure the adaptive aftereffects at three time points: before PA (pre-test), immediately after the first PA exposure (IA-test), and after a 14-day sequence of PA exposure (post-test). RESULTS: PA toward the unaffected side alleviated pathologic pain and other CRPS pathologic features, when measured at post-test. None of the IA-test results showed an analgesic effect. In the longitudinal study, sham PA and 5-degree PA did not produce any effects, and PA toward the affected side actually exacerbated the subjective pain. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that vision can influence pathologic pain, and preliminarily suggest that prism adaptation has a direction-specific and reproducible effect on not only pathologic pain but also other CRPS pathologic features. Thus, prism adaptation may be a viable cognitive treatment for CRPS.
This article was published in Neurology
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation