Exploring changes in the brain associated with recovery from phantom limb pain - the potential importance of telescoping

D Harvie, G L Moseley

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debateResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

[Extract] In this issue, you will find a paper entitled ‘Mirror therapy for phantom limb pain: Brain changes and the role of body representation’ (Foell et al. 2014). Thirteen amputees with chronic phantom limb pain (PLP) participated in a 4‐week mirror therapy programme. Functional brain imaging measures taken before and after the programme were related to change in PLP over the same period.

Phantom limbs have long fascinated psychologists, neuroscientists and neurologists. That the phantom can be distorted speaks to the plasticity of the brain's representation of the body and flags the potential opportunity for treatments that directly target these representations (see Moseley et al., 2012 for review). Mirror therapy is one such treatment. Foell et al. suggest that mirror therapy aims to re‐establish normal cortical representations using visual input of an intact limb as a substitute for the now‐missing proprioceptive feedback from the amputated limb. Systematic review suggests that mirror therapy probably reduces PLP, at least for some patients (Bowering et al., 2012). The study by Foell et al. raises two particularly intriguing results that have the potential to shift our thinking with regard to PLP and cortical representations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-2
Number of pages2
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes

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