Mirror therapy was originally developed for the relief of Phantom Limb Pain, but has been extended in the treatment of stroke rehabilitation, and complex regional pain syndrome, as well as for hand and foot rehabilitation following an injury or surgery.
Mirror therapy uses mirror box which is a box with two mirrors in the center (one facing each way), and uses the principle of visual feedback to alleviate limb pain.
In this, the patient places the good limb into one side, and the stump into the other. The patient then looks into the mirror on the side with good limb and sees the reflection of good limb in place of stump. Because the subject is seeing the reflected image of the good hand moving, it appears as if the phantom limb is also moving.
Through the use of this artificial visual feedback it becomes possible for the patient to “move” the phantom limb, and to unclench it from potentially painful positions.
Studies have found that use of the mirror box can eliminate the remapping associated with phantom limb pains.
Mirror therapy used visual feedback with the mirror box as a technique for accelerating recover from phantom pain and stroke. Mirror therapy was originally invented by VS Ramachandran MD at the university of California San Diego.
The effect of the mirror therapy varies depending on the pain.Mirror therapy is more effective on deep somatic pain (e.g., pressure sense and proprioceptive pain) than on superficial pain (e.g., warmth sense and nociceptive pain). This is because deep tissues are responsible for integrating sensorimotor nerves as well as creating movements compared to superficial tissues.
Many studies indicate that mirror therapy is only effective for upper limb treatment, but it has potential as alternative treatment for pain that is difficult to control.
There is no current consensus about effectiveness of mirror therapy.
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