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Optical Illusion of Pain

I am convinced that there is a wicked optical illusion game that pain can play. The definition of an optical illusion is “an experience of seeming to see something that does not exist or that is other than it appears”. Like these two orange circles, they appear different in size, but are actually the same size.

The last four months I have been coping with a swollen, painful knee. When I look at it, the swelling seems very obvious. But when it is measured it is only minimally swollen.  So I ask the question how can something that hurts so much be so measurably small? The noise and commotion on the inside of my body are huge and somehow when I look at the area causing the pain I see a larger than usual body part. Maybe what I am seeing has the weight of the pain I am feeling and that causes me to see the joint much larger than it really is. Size, like beauty,  is truly in the eye of the beholder.

Have you had the sensation that your pain makes your painful body part feel much larger than it’s actual physical size?

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About Mary Byrne Eigel

Before writing children’s books, Mary spent many years teaching in classrooms and creating art in her studio. She was born with bi-lateral hip dysplasia, a painful condition that causes normal activities, like walking, to be challenging. As a child, when Mary had to trek long distances, she often wished she had a wheelchair. For her, a wheelchair offered pain-free opportunities, not limitations. Mary grew up in Chicago, which is the lakefront inspiration for the town of Sail. She lives in Missouri with her husband and two dogs, Beaux and Trey.

3 responses »

  1. When I get a migraine, my head feels “swollen,” like a giant lump of pain has situated itself somewhere between my skull and my brain — a real crainium crusher.
    Pain does “weigh” on you: emotionally. physically, spirtitually, etc. I can understand why your perception of the size of your knee doesn’t “jive” with the measuring tape.
    Hope your knee issues resolve themselves soon, and you are not in such pain.

  2. Mary Byrne Eigel

    Phylor thanks for your comment and well wishes. Ironically I did a lot of things to relieve the pain in my knee but miraculously as soon as the weather warmed, my knee was fine. I know weather can make a difference with pain, but this was really dramatic. Go figure.
    Have a g’day.
    Mary

  3. Pingback: Pain-blog Carnival, May 2010 | How To Cope With Pain Blog

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