Restoring movement representation with virtual reality alleviates phantom limb pain

Working hypothesis about phantom limb pain and movement representation Patients with phantom limb pain (PLP) may report altered movement representations of their phantom limb, for example, ‘my phantom limb is frozen in one or more peculiar positions’. Dr. Sumitani previously reported that visual feedback using a mirror restored the voluntary … [Read more...]

The phantoms in our dreams

Ask yourself for details in your latest dreams and you will recognize how hard it is to recall your own dream content in a precise and valid manner. In William Shakespeare’s world-renowned tragedy ‘Hamlet’, the protagonist says ‘a dream itself is but a shadow’, emphasizing the transience of this cognitive phenomenon. As such, dreams hardly lend … [Read more...]

Phantom limb pain: peripheral or central origin?

In a recent paper by Vaso et al. (2014) it was suggested that phantom limb pain is driven primarily by activity generated within the ectopic dorsal root ganglia (DRG) (they wrote for BiM on it here). Ectopic activity is abnormal spontaneous activity generated in neuromas in the residual limb as well as in dorsal root ganglions. The authors reported … [Read more...]

Silencing phantom limb pain by silencing the DRG

“The surgery was a success and the patient is dead.” This satirical saying sometimes reflects the outlook of patients and their rehabilitation teams when, despite completing a difficult rehabilitation trajectory, a patient is left with unbearable phantom limb pain. The patient mustered up super-human willpower to rehabilitate himself. The … [Read more...]

A New Treatment for Phantom Limb Pain

Phantom limb pain (PLP) belongs to a group of neuropathic pain syndromes that is characterized by pain in the amputated limb that follows partial or complete deafferentation. It must be differentiated from non-painful phantom limb phenomena (namely, non-painful sensations related to the phenomenal persistence of the physically lost extremity) and … [Read more...]