Phantom Limb Syndrome Analysis

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Phantom limb syndrome is a neurological disorder that affects amputees and is characterized by phantom sensations that appear to emanate from the missing limb (Rugnetta). The phantom sensations can be painful or nonpainful in nature, so that the individual experiences pain, touch sensations, or changes in temperature (Rugnetta), despite missing the peripheral portions of the spinothalamic pathway and other pathways involved in relaying information to associated regions of the brain, and in particular to the somatosensory cortex. The mechanisms involved in phantom limb syndrome are not fully understood. However, it has been noted that following amputation there is a rewiring of parts of the brain associated with sensation (Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, Hall, LaMantia, & White, 2012), including, “considerable reorganization…show more content…
Mirror box therapy was developed specifically for patients with phantom limb syndrome. Treatment involves using an uncovered box with a mirror bisecting it. Two holes are cut out of the front on either side of the bisecting mirror. The patient places the intact limb into one hole of the box and the stump of the amputated limb into the other hole. A patient looking from the side of the intact limb will see that limb, along with a reflection of that limb in the mirror, giving the illusion of the presence of the amputated limb. When the patient moves the intact limb and looks in the mirror, it gives the appearance that the amputated limb is also moving, which may alleviate some associated pain or learned paralysis. For larger limbs, a large mirror is used without a box. The mirror is placed between the intact limb and the stump, with the mirror facing the stump. Just as with the mirror box, this allows the patient to see the reflection of the intact limb, providing the illusion that the amputated limb is still present and able to be moved (Subedi
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