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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2014 February;50(1):67-72

Copyright © 2014 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Chronic pain and motor imagery: a rehabilitative experience in a case report

Zangrando F. 1, Paolucci T. 1, Vulpiani M. C. 2, Lamaro M. 1, Isidori R. 1, Saraceni V. M. 1

1 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit La Sapienza University, Policlinico Umberto I, Rome, Italy; 2 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit La Sapienza University, Sant’Andrea Hospital, Rome, Italy


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Background: The “neuromatrix” theory of Melzack and the studies of Decety on motor imagery have opened the way to an alternative rehabilitation method in chronic pain.
Aim: To evaluate the role of motor imagery in chronic shoulder pain rehabilitation.
Design: Case report.
Setting: University outpatient rehabilitation.
Population: A 49-year-old female with chronic shoulder pain.
Methods: Neurocognitive approach, which involves the use of a new tool called “naval battle” to achieve chronic pain relief as assessed by the Visual Analogic Scale (VAS) and McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ). The Shoulder Rating Questionnaire (SRQ) and Constant Scale (CS) were used to measure functional improvement.
Results: The results indicate significant pain relief (71%) and improvement in functionality (50%).
Conclusion: The results seem to confirm the accuracy of the hypothesis on the genesis of chronic pain as a perceptive “discoherency” and that motor imagery can remake a coherence of afferences at central level in chronic pain.
Clinical rehabilitation impact: The use of motor imagery in rehabilitation can be a viable alternative in chronic shoulder pain resistant to other rehabilitation protocols.

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