Phantom limb sensation, phantom limb pain and pain in the residual limb are unique areas of this phenomenon and often the terms are misused. Pain in the residual limb is often confused with the phantom phenomenon yet it actually refers to the pain felt in the physical area above the level of amputation (Hill, 1999). However, phantom limb sensation (PLS) is described as any non-painful sensation that is presented where the limb is no longer present (Hill, 1999; Wilkins, McGrath, Finley & Katz, 1998). Conversely, phantom limb pain (PLP) is characterized as burning, tingling, throbbing, cramping, squeezing, shocking or shooting pains experienced where the limb is no longer present (Modirian, Shojaei, Soroush & Masoumi, 2009).
For pain in particular, many treatments have been created to ease the pain, but none have been successful at curing the pain (Modirian et al., 2009). One particularly popular treatment option is that of mirror treatment. In mirror treatment, an individual with an amputation is placed at a table with a mirror that is placed along the individual’s midline (Ramachandran & Rogers-Ramachandran, 2008). With the intact limb symmetrically positioned with the phant...
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...Hill, A. (1999). Phantom Limb Pain: A Review of the Literature on Attribute and Potential Mechanisms. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 17, 125-139. doi:10.1016/S0885-3924(98)00136-5
Kapoor, S. (2010). Phantom pain: emerging new therapeutic options. Disability and Rehabilitation, 32, 429. doi:10.3109/096328280903567901
Modirian, E., Shojaei, H., Soroush, M. R., & Masoumi, M. (2009). Phantom pain in bilateral upper limb amputation. Disability and Rehabilitation, 31, 1878-1881. doi:10.1080/09638280902810976
Nicolelis, M. (2008). Living with Ghostly Limbs. Scientific American Mind, 18, 52-59.
Ramachandaran, V., & Rogers-Ramachandran, D. (2008). Touching Illusions. Scientific American Mind, 18, 14-16.
Wilkins, K. L., McGrath, P. J., Finley, A., & Katz J. (1998). Phantom limb sensations and phantom limb pain in child and adolescent amputees. Pain, 78, 7-12.
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