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Agri. 2016 Jul;28(3):127-134. doi: 10.5505/agri.2016.48343.

The effect of mirror therapy on the management of phantom limb pain.

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Department of Nursing, Yeditepe University Faculty of Health Sciences, İstanbul, Turkey.
Department of Nursing, İstanbul University, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, İstanbul, Turkey.



In the last two decades, mirror therapy has become a frequently used method of managing phantom limb pain (PLP). However, the role of nurses in mirror therapy has not yet been well defined. This study examined the effect of mirror therapy on the management of PLP, and discusses the importance of mirror therapy in the nursing care of amputee patients.


This quasi-experimental study was conducted in the pain management department of a university hospital and a prosthesis clinic in İstanbul, Turkey, with 15 amputee patients who had PLP. Forty minutes of practical mirror therapy training was given to the patients and they were asked to practice at home for 4 weeks. Patients were asked to record the severity of their PLP before and after the therapy each day using 0-10 Numeric Pain Intensity Scale.


Mirror therapy practiced for 4 weeks provided a significant decrease in severity of PLP. There was no significant relationship between the effect of mirror therapy and demographic, amputation or PLP-related characteristics. Patients who were not using prosthesis had greater benefit from mirror therapy.


Mirror therapy can be used as an adjunct to medical and surgical treatment of PLP. It is a method that patients can practice independently, enhancing self-control over phantom pain. As mirror therapy is a safe, economical, and easy-to-use treatment method, it should be considered in the nursing care plan for patients with PLP.

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