Is it possible that known threats which may cause us pain appear closer than they actually are?
A new study from researchers in Australia has found this to be the case. Subjects perceived a switch that was known to cause them pain to be measurably closer than a switch that would alleviate the pain.
The subject’s perception of their external environment was therefore altered according to their previous experience and the threat it contained.
Could a person with osteoarthritis in the knee view a flight of stairs in a similar way perhaps?
Clinics and exercise facilities may also be seen differently when viewed through the eyes of somebody in chronic pain.
This has implications for the design and layout of environments where those in pain tend to find themselves. How for example does an electrolysis device with it’s incumbent wires and switches appear to somebody in pain? Depending on their experience of physio clinics, much like a torture device to some I’m sure.
Our central nervous systems are constantly evaluating whether our environments pose a threat based on our previous experience. It is logical to presume therefore that those in pain may be sensitised to the clinical environment.
Treatment programmes may be scuppered before they even begin if such threats are not considered from the outset.