Experiences of treating phantom limb pain using immersive virtual reality

James Marsh, Stephen Pettifer, Cliff Richardson, Jai Kulkarni

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Phantom limb pain (PLP) is a phenomenon that affects millions of amputees worldwide. Its causes are poorly understood, and traditional forms of pain relief are largely ineffective. For over a decade virtual reality (VR) has shown tantalising possibilities of treating or managing this debilitating condition. Until recently however, the cost, complexity and fragility of VR hardware made exploring this unorthodox approach at any meaningful scale challenging; patients have had to travel to the location of specialist equipment to participate in studies, and missed appointments, dropouts or broken hardware have hampered data-gathering. Improvements in 'consumer grade' VR headsets now makes larger trials of this visual approach to pain management viable. We describe a trial of a VR system for PLP reduction utilising lightweight, standalone and low-cost VR hardware suitable for independent home use.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2019


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