Tim took well to the emerging spirit of Le Pub Scientifique by really putting himself and his current direction of thinking on the line. He shared what had prompted him to think outside the box of traditional manual therapy and movement assessment techniques – where do you go when someone won’t even let you within 2 metres of their painful body part?
Granted, Tim does see more of these complex presentations than the average healthcare or sports professional but it is likely that we will all have worked with someone whose body perception has been altered within the context of a previous injury or ongoing pain state. It may be that we just didn’t know what to look for or how to make sense of their story.
Body perception could be considered as the cohesive representation of our bodies that is mainly processed at unconscious levels. Fine tuning to provide accurate representations occurs as a result of feed forward and feedback systems. These help us to calculate with precision and speed, for example where our arms and hands need to come from, and go to, if we needed to save a child from burning themselves on a hot stove, without having to stop and think.
It became clear that considering alterations in body perception fires up a passion in Tim to find a way in, to understand aspects that are a part of the pain picture outside of pain descriptors. It invites creativity, clearly Tim’s forté. His experience has shown that by objectifying some of these descriptions of altered body perception and using the background of neuroscience literature, he has provided validation to people reporting weird and wonderful symptoms that historically had been ignored or greeted with a shoulder shrug. He also shared the rationale for using these findings to guide onward treatment or as monitoring methods to indicate change that was otherwise less tangible to tie in with functional gains.
The theory was brought to life with illustrations of several case histories including videos of somatoperceptual assessment and trials on each other.
Tim gave us a new dimension in which to observe, listen and interpret what people are telling us about their relationship with their body which it seems is already leading us down the rabbit hole to a world not yet fully explored.
Watch this space for the next expedition in exploring somatoperception where we hope to take a walk through mindful movement…
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Lewis, J. & McCabe, C. (2010) Body perception disturbance in CRPS. Practical Pain Management April p60-66.
Longo, M., Azañón, E. Haggard, P. (2010) More than skin deep: Body representation beyond primary somatosensory cortex. Neuropsychologia 48, 655–668
Moseley, G. L., Gallace, A. & Spence, C. (2012) Bodily illusions in health and disease: Physiological and clinical perspectives and the concept of a cortical ‘body matrix’ Neuroscience Biobehavioural Review 36, 34-46