Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Phantom Limb Pain Eased By Mirror

Simple and innovative treatment brings relief in clinical trial:

Dr. Jack Tsao, a Navy neurologist with the Uniform Services University, was looking for ways to help soldiers like Paupore. He remembered reading in graduate school a paper by Dr. V.S. Ramachandran that talked about an unusual treatment for amputees suffering "phantom limb pain," using a simple $20 mirror.

The mirror tricks the brain into "seeing" the amputated leg, overriding mismatched nerve signals.

Here's how it works: The patient sits on a flat surface with his or her remaining leg straight out and then puts a 6-foot mirror lengthwise facing the limb. The patient moves the leg, flexing it, and watches the movement in the mirror. The reflection creates the illusion of two legs moving together.

More on phantom limb pain.


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