Optical illusion can cut pain of arthritis sufferers by appearing to 'stretch' aching fingers

Scientists have discovered they can reduce the pain of severely arthritic patients by treating them with - an optical illusion.

Computer-generated image technology can trick sufferers into feeling less pain in their joints by pretending to 'stretch' their fingers. Patients place their hands inside a box containing a camera and watch as a real-time image of their hands is projected in front of them. The image is then manipulated to make it look like their fingers are being stretched and then shrunk.

Researchers found the experimental drug-free treatment halved the pain of arthritis patients in 85 per cent of cases. Some patients even said they experienced no pain at all after undergoing the treatment. The breakthrough treatment was discovered by accident during an open-day for families at Nottingham University.