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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015 Feb;96(2):181-7. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.09.035. Epub 2014 Oct 23.

Efficacy of progressive muscle relaxation, mental imagery, and phantom exercise training on phantom limb: a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

1
Santa Lucia Foundation IRCCS, Scientific Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care, Rome, Italy. Electronic address: s.brunelli@hsantalucia.it.
2
Santa Lucia Foundation IRCCS, Scientific Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care, Rome, Italy.
3
Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Tor Vergata University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the reduction in phantom pain and sensation with combined training of progressive muscle relaxation, mental imagery, and phantom exercises.

DESIGN:

Randomized controlled prospective trial with 2 parallel groups.

SETTING:

Amputee unit of a rehabilitation hospital.

PARTICIPANTS:

Subjects with unilateral lower limb amputation (N=51) with phantom limb pain (PLP) and/or phantom limb sensation (PLS).

INTERVENTIONS:

The experimental group performed combined training of progressive muscle relaxation, mental imagery, and phantom exercises 2 times/wk for 4 weeks, whereas the control group had the same amount of physical therapy dedicated to the residual limb. No pharmacological intervention was initiated during the trial period.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The Prosthesis Evaluation Questionnaire and the Brief Pain Inventory were used to evaluate changes over time in different aspects (intensity, rate, duration, and bother) of PLS and PLP. Blind evaluations were performed before and after treatment and after 1-month follow-up.

RESULTS:

The experimental group showed a significant decrease over time in all the Prosthesis Evaluation Questionnaire domains (in terms of both PLS and PLP; P<.04 for both) and the Brief Pain Inventory (P<.03). No statistically significant changes were observed in the control group. Between-group analyses showed a significant reduction in intensity (average and worst pain) and bother of PLP and rate and bother of PLS at follow-up evaluation, 1 month after the end of the treatment.

CONCLUSIONS:

Combined training of progressive muscle relaxation, mental imagery, and modified phantom exercises should be taken into account as a valuable technique to reduce phantom limb pain and sensation.

KEYWORDS:

Amputation; Chronic pain; Phantom limb; Rehabilitation; Sensation

PMID:
25450123
DOI:
10.1016/j.apmr.2014.09.035
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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