The treatment of phantom limb pain using immersive virtual reality: Three case studies

Craig D. Murray, Stephen Pettifer, Toby Howard, Emma L. Patchick, Fabrice Caillette, Jai Kulkarni, Candy Bamford

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Purpose. This paper describes the design and implementation of a case study based investigation using immersive virtual reality as a treatment for phantom limb pain. Method. Three participants who experienced phantom limb pain (two with an upper-limb amputation, and one with a lower-limb amputation) took part in between 2 and 5 immersive virtual reality (IVR) sessions over a 3-week period. The movements of participants' anatomical limbs were transposed into the movements of a virtual limb, presented in the phenomenal space of their phantom limb. Results. Preliminary qualitative findings are reported here to assess proof of principle for this IVR equipment. All participants reported the transferal of sensations into the muscles and joints of the phantom limb, and all participants reported a decrease in phantom pain during at least one of the sessions. Conclusion. The authors suggest the need for further research using control trials.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1465-1469
    Number of pages4
    JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
    Volume29
    Issue number18
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Keywords

    • Amputee
    • Immersive virtual reality
    • Phantom limb pain

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