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Can immersive virtual reality reduce phantom limb pain?

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School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, United Kingdom.


This paper describes the design and implementation of a case-study based investigation using immersive virtual reality as a treatment for phantom limb pain. The authors' work builds upon prior research which has found the use of a mirror box (where the amputee sees a mirror image of their remaining anatomical limb in the phenomenal space of their amputated limb) can reduce phantom limb pain and voluntary movement to paralyzed phantom limbs for some amputees. The present project involves the transposition of movements made by amputees' anatomical limb into movements of a virtual limb which is presented in the phenomenal space of their phantom limb. The three case studies presented here provide qualitative data which provide tentative support for the use of this system for phantom pain relief. The authors suggest the need for further research using control trials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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