“I Dreamed of My Hands and Arms Moving Again”: A Case Series Investigating the Effect of Immersive Virtual Reality on Phantom Limb Pain Alleviation

Phantom limb pain (PLP) is a type of chronic pain that follows limb amputation, brachial plexus avulsion injury, or spinal cord injury. Treating PLP is a well-known challenge. Currently, virtual reality (VR) interventions are attracting increasing attention because they show promising analgesic effects. However, most previous studies of VR interventions were conducted with a limited number of patients in a single trial. Few studies explored questions such as how multiple VR sessions might affect pain over time, or if a patient's ability to move their phantom limb may affect their PLP. Here we recruited five PLP patients to practice two motor tasks for multiple VR sessions over 6 weeks. In VR, patients “inhabit” a virtual body or avatar, and the movements of their intact limbs are mirrored in the avatar, providing them with the illusion that their limbs respond as if they were both intact and functional. We found that repetitive exposure to our VR intervention led to reduced pain and improvements in anxiety, depression, and a sense of embodiment of the virtual body. Importantly, we also found that their ability to move their phantom limbs improved as quantified by shortened motor imagery time with the impaired limb. Although the limited sample size prevents us from performing a correlational analysis, our findings suggest that providing PLP patients with sensorimotor experience for the impaired limb in VR appears to offer long-term benefits for patients and that th...
Source: Frontiers in Neurology - Category: Neurology Source Type: research

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Source: Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology - Category: Cytology Authors: Tags: Cell Mol Neurobiol Source Type: research
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Source: Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology - Category: Cytology Authors: Tags: Cell Mol Neurobiol Source Type: research
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Source: HealthSkills Weblog - Category: Anesthesiology Authors: Tags: Assessment Chronic pain Professional topics Research malingering secondary gain stigma Source Type: blogs
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Source: Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface - Category: Biotechnology Authors: Tags: Clinical Research Source Type: research
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Source: World of Psychology - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Tags: Chronic Pain Depression Disorders General Interview Mental Health and Wellness Podcast Psychology The Psych Central Show Source Type: blogs
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Source: Brain, Behavior, and Immunity - Category: Neurology Authors: Tags: Brain Behav Immun Source Type: research
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Source: Molecules - Category: Chemistry Authors: Tags: Review Source Type: research
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Source: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience - Category: Neuroscience Source Type: research
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Source: Journal of Behavioral Medicine - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research
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