Phantom Limb Pain Essay

1572 words - 6 pages

I have been interested in working with patients that are amputees for some time. I was interested to find out if mirror therapy actually worked for those patients that have phantom limb pain. The treatment seems to be very simple and from the few videos I had seen before my research, it was very effective. According to several different websites, patients that have had an amputation the likelihood of them having phantom limb pain is between 50% and 80% of all amputees. This is a huge number and if mirror therapy is actually effective it could help reduce this debilitating pain in hundreds if not thousands of patients.
The first article I reviewed was published in 2006. It was a randomized control trial. Eighty patients were included in the study, forty-one in the experimental group and thirty-nine in the control group. Patients that had reported phantom limb pain that were patients of one of six local facilities were invited to join this study. There was no inclusion or exclusion data for this study. The breakdown of the participants was fairly equal except for the reason for having an amputation. The study did also include studies on phantom limb movement and phantom limb sensation. I focused on the phantom limb pain (PLP) and its results. According to their findings patients that reported PLP before this study stated their pain was reduced. This study seemed to be more concerned with phantom limb awareness and phantom limb movement. There was not a baseline comparison and no one was blinded to the study or results. Patients were also advised that the treatment should not induce or cause any additional pain or cause any side effects. With that information given to the patients it also could have introduced the Hawthrone effect. This study should be re-visited and possibly done again with better experimental control and instead of group three different issues that have to do with amputation, focus on just one.
The second study I read was a case study about a 30 year old male that had an above the elbow amputation. This patient was treated with prescription pain medications, several different spinal blocks, and subcutaneous infusion of ketamine before they attempted using mirror therapy. All of the above treatments gave the patient short-term relief and some did nothing to reduce his pain. He was treated with mirror therapy for fifteen minutes, four times a week; he did continue to use some of his pain medications at the same time. After one week the patient stated his previous usual pain of 8 to 10 out of 10 had been reduced to 7. After a month of treatment pain was reduced to 5 out of 10. The patient was taught to do the mirror therapy at home and his pain was reduced after three months to 4 out of 10 and that was from his “electric-like pain.” Since this was just a case study it is very hard to compare it to other studies as well and as being able to duplicate the results. It is a great starting...

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