Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Phantom Pain

Phantom pain, as described in the book, is a phenomenon of intense discomfort reported by amputees in their missing limb. It was previously believed that this pain came from damage to nerve endings in the remaining portion of the limb but that has since been proven incorrect. Instead, it is now classified as an issue with brain plasticity and how the brain has rewired following amputation. The book also states that when the brains touch region is reassigned to a further body part, individuals experience more intense phantom limb pain.

    To go about treating this phenomenon, doctors may prescribe many different types of medications or they may recommend over the counter pain medication. Additionally, there are other treatment therapies that could be helpful in reducing pain. One of the most interesting of these therapies being mirror therapy. The way this works is a lower limb amputee may sit with a mirror mimicking the existing limb to trick the brain into thinking both legs still remain on the body. This sounds like it would never work but it has been proven to show significant benefit to those with phantom limb pain. Below is an image of how the mirror therapy is done.,underlying%20pathophysiology%20remains%20poorly%20understood.


  1. This was so interesting, it's crazy how our understanding has changed from thinking it was nerve damage to realizing it's about how the brain rewires itself!! Great topic!!

  2. Hi Makenna, mirror therapy is a fascinating way to help amputees deal with phantom limb pain. This can reduce the strange feelings and pain that people often feel in limbs they no longer have. It's amazing how such a straightforward idea can make such a big difference for people dealing with that kind of discomfort. Nice job!

  3. I enjoyed reading this part of the text as well! It reminded me of an episode of House M.D. where a man had lost part of his arm in a war. The patient describes having felt this excruciating pain for years and feeling like he was still at the site of the landmine. Dr. House helps this patient using mirror therapy and the war hero ends up crying because after 36 years, he is finally feeling relief. It's truly mind blowing what perception can do.