We enjoy the clinical anecdotes that pour into NOI, especially when they are repeated and can be related to modern thoughts about brain science.
The wife of a dear friend, (let’s call him Seamus) wrote in about his ongoing arm pain following an accident where he was hit by a car.
“In the first year after the accident we were watching the British Open on TV… you know the usual suspects McIlroy, Woods etc…..every time Phil Michelson stepped up to the tee and took out the big driver, Seamus’s shoulder would go into the involuntary spasm with little /no warning. It just lasted a few seconds and then it would take a while for the pain to subside. After that I wondered if when Tiger came to take the big driver out of the bag would it happen again?….but nothing happened. Over the day while watching the golf it happened four more times but not with each drive off the tee. Then it hit me…. Phil Michelson is a leftie, and Seamus’s injury is on his left side. Presumably, every time he watched the leftie drive especially with the wood, his brain felt the threat and acted in his defense.?”
In further emails, the story gets even more interesting.
“Just recently Seamus mentioned to me that he doesn’t like sitting with a stranger on his left side , or even if it is someone he knows he has to move away and place his chair at an angle to them. If he is on public transport and he has to sit with someone on his left, his shoulder goes into involuntary spasm and he can feel it building up before it wallops him”.
Lastly he said to me “you are the only one who can sit on my left and it doesn’t happen”.
Well I guess that must be true love though a rather dramatic way of testing it! This is all about the notion of the space surrounding us coded variably into our neurosignatures. But rather than just thinking “that’s fascinating” as we did with phantom pains for decades, I am hoping readers can make suggestions for possible operant processes here as well as make suggestions for help, based on this clinical data. It all helps our work with graded motor imagery.