Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department


Reader 1

Jenna Monroy

Reader 2

Stacey Wood

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Rights Information

© 2023 Lilian Ryan


Graded Motor Imagery (GMI) has been used as a treatment for chronic pain in the past few decades via neurological and psychological mechanisms, involving imaging movement that might hurt if done physically. However, no research has studied GMI in children with chronic pain. The present study would sample 7-9 year olds from the population of pediatric musculoskeletal chronic pain patients currently in physical therapy (PT) treatment in LA County. Participants would receive measures of pain levels, functional impacts of pain, fear of pain, fMRI activation of the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) during movement, EMG activity, and range of motion (ROM). Participants randomly assigned to the GMI treatment group would receive lessons on each stage of GMI– left-right discrimination (implicit motor imagery), explicit motor imagery, and mirror therapy– each of which they would spend two weeks doing with a recommendation of at least 7 times per day. Predicted results include greater decreases of pain levels, functional impacts of pain, fear of pain, and fMRI activity of the S1 during movement and greater increases of EMG activity and ROM in the GMI treatment group compared to the control group. Other predicted results include a correlation between magnitude of decrease in pain levels and time spent on GMI, as well as similar pain level changes with each stage of GMI and a trend of decreasing pain with each phase. This study would fill a major gap in the field of chronic pain and be the first to empirically support GMI treatment for pediatric chronic pain.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.