Mind-Body Interventions for Treatment of Phantom Limb Pain in Persons with Amputation

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
American journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation / Association of Academic Physiatrists (Impact Factor: 2.2). 01/2012; 91(8):701-14. DOI: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e3182466034
Source: PubMed


Phantom limb pain (PLP) is a significant source of chronic pain in most persons with amputation at some time in their clinical course. Pharmacologic therapies for this condition are often only moderately effective and may produce unwanted adverse effects. There is growing empirical evidence of the therapeutic effectiveness of mind-body therapies for the relief of chronic pain; therefore, an exploration of their role in relieving amputation-related chronic pain is warranted. We undertook a focused literature review on mind-body interventions for patients with amputation who experience PLP. Because of study heterogeneity, only descriptive presentations of the studies are presented. Only studies of hypnosis, imagery, and biofeedback, including visual mirror feedback, were found; studies on meditation, yoga, and tai chi/qigong were missing from the literature. Few studies of specific mind-body therapies were dedicated to management of PLP, with the exception of mirror visual therapy. Overall, studies were largely exploratory and reflect considerable variability in the application of mind-body techniques, making definitive conclusions inadvisable. Nevertheless, the weight of existing findings indicates that a mind-body approach to PLP pain management is promising and that specific methods may offer either temporary or long-term relief, either alone or in combination with conventional therapies. The authors discuss the potential for usefulness of specific mind-body therapies and the relevance of their mechanisms of action to those of PLP, including targeting cortical reorganization, autonomic nervous system deregulation, stress management, coping ability, and quality-of-life. The authors recommend more and better quality research exploring the efficacy and mechanisms of action.

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Available from: Vera Moura, Feb 04, 2015
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    • "In an updated search (March 1, 2013), nine of 17 new titles pass initial screening for inclusion. Screening of abstracts identifies seven of these reviews that would need to be collected for further inclusion analysis, of which three focus on adult cancer [54–56], one on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [57], one for depression [58], one for anxiety [59], and one for phantom limb pain [60]. These reviews suggest positive impact of yoga for primary outcomes with no adverse effects, though authors unanimously state that more and better-quality research is needed. "
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    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 05/2013; 2013(1):945895. DOI:10.1155/2013/945895 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    • "Non-athletes did not have this experience, and they relied almost entirely on pain medication or other therapies to reduce pain. Using sports as therapy for phantom pain is in agreement with recent findings, which state that a combination of mind-body therapies may be effective in reducing phantom pain temporarily or in the long term [43]. "
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