• Background
  • Mirror Therapy
  • Virtual Reality
  • Quiz


Unlike proprioception in which the experience of a phantom limb can help an amputee, real problems occur when people experience pain in missing limbs. Phantom limb pain refers to experiencing pain in the lost limb. Because there is no limb, an amputee may be very confused when they experience pain in a missing appendage. Indeed, sometimes the pain can be excruciating, made all the worse by the amputeeā€™s knowledge that the limb is not there. If the lost limb is one of the arms, 51% of patients experience phantom limb pain, whereas phantom limb pain is experienced by more than 70% of patients if a leg is lost (Kooijman, Dijkstra, Geertzen, Elzinga, van der Schans, 2000).

Go to the next three tabs to learn about a couple of different recent therapies for phantom limb pain.

Mirror Therapy

In mirror therapy, view in the video below, the patient puts a mirror between the amputated and remaining limb, say between the two legs. The mirror faces the remaining limb and away from the amputated limb. In looking in the mirror the patient sees the reflected limb in the position of amputated limb. Moving the ramaining limb around carefully can help reduce phantom limb pain.

Virtual Reality

In virtual reality (VR) therapy, the amputated limb is replaced in a virtual world. The person sees a VR replacemet for the lost limb. Again, moving the VR limb can help reduce pain the phantom limb pain.