Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 457-464

Intervention for phantom limb pain: A randomized single crossover study of mirror therapy

1 Department of Psychiatry, Deccan College of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
2 Artificial Limb Centre, Pune, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, Nepal Army Institute of Health Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal
4 Department of Prosthetic Surgery, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Shashikumar Ramadugu
Deccan College of Medical Sciences, Kanchan Bagh, Hyderabad - 500 049, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_259_16

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Introduction: Mirror therapy suggested to help relieve phantom limb pain (PLP) by resolving the visual- proprioceptive dissociation in the brain, but studies so far either had shorter follow-up or smaller sample size. Materials and Methods: In this randomized single crossover trial, 64 amputees with PLP in the age group of 15–75 years of age were distributed into test and control groups by simple randomization method. Of these 28 in control and 32 in test groups, respectively, completed the 4 weeks of mirror therapy and 12 weeks of follow-up assessments. A standardized set of exercises for 15 min/day for 4 and 8 weeks in test and control groups (in the first 4 weeks, the mirror was covered), respectively, was administered under supervision of one of the authors. All were assessed using the visual analog scale and Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire on day 0 and at 4, 8, and 12 weeks after therapy. In control group for the initial 4 weeks, the mirror was covered. The assessing author was blinded to the group to which the participants belonged. Results: Significant reduction in PLP was noted in the test group at 4 weeks compared to the control group (P < 0.0001). Significant reduction was seen in control group also after the switchover and sustained for 12 weeks in both. No harm was reported. Conclusion: Mirror therapy is effective in relieving the intensity, duration, frequency, and overall PLP, and improvement is maintained up to 12 weeks' posttherapy.



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