Effectiveness of Mirror Box Therapy on Phantom Limb Pain

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There have been many studies in this area showing the effectiveness of mirror-box therapy in case of painful phantom limbs. This work studies the relevant published literatures and reviews them in a systemic fashion to arrive at a finding that immediately after the amputation, the sensory cortex organizes itself, but retains the amputated limb’s presentation within the brain. Visual illusions created by a mirror-box can use that illusory phenomenon to psychologically manipulate the patients so they can get rid of the pain. The studies, although establish the effectiveness of such therapy in neuro-rehabilitation do not point at the possible mechanisms for such, and this author concludes that further research is mandated for establishing a cause-and-effect relationship. After amputation in the clinical practice, most patients complain of sensation that seems to emanate from the amputated body part. This effect is known as phantom sensation. In some patients, this sensation can be very intensely painful. Although little is known about the operant mechanisms of such phenomena, it is now known that nociceptor function is dynamic and may be altered following surgical tissue injury, and that may contribute to persistent pain. The perception of pain in such situations is not a predictable neurophysiological mechanism where stimuli are always transmitted and processed in an identical manner. Therefore, the central nervous system pain perception mechanism demonstrates a great deal of plasticity.

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