Reflexology treatment for patients with lower limb amputations and phantom limb pain--an exploratory pilot study.

Christine Ann Brown
Christine Ann Brown
Prosthetic Services
Tulsa | United States

Complement Ther Clin Pract 2008 May 4;14(2):124-31. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Prosthetic Services, Maltings Mobility Centre, Wolverhampton City NHS Trust, Herbert Street, Wolverhampton, West Midlands WV1 1NQ, UK.

Objectives: The objectives of the study were to evaluate the possibility of reflexology being used as a non-invasive form of phantom limb pain relief and of empowering patients to maintain any positive results with self-treatment.

Setting: Prosthetic Services Centre, Herbert Street, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England.

Design: A same-subject, experimental pilot study, recording the intensity of phantom limb pain in weekly pain diaries over a 30-week period, which was divided into five phases: phase 1 gave a baseline of pain, whilst phase 3 was a resting phase. Phases 2, 4 and 5 provided the reflexology interventions.

Sample: Ten participants with unilateral lower limb amputations and phantom limb pain were selected from the database at the Prosthetic Centre. REFLEXOLOGY INTERVENTIONS: In phase 2, six weekly reflexology treatments were given, which consisted of: full foot reflexology to the remaining foot and full hand reflexology to the hand of the amputated side of the body. In phase 4, six weekly hand reflexology teaching sessions were carried out; patients copied on their own hands what the therapist did on hers. A hand reflexology booklet gave the sequence of the treatment and was used as a reference. In phase 5, the patients self-treated for 6 weeks at home, using the reference material.

Results: Over the 30-week period, there was an improvement in the perception of the presence and the intensity of the phantom limb pain, with a corresponding improvement in the duration of the pain and the affect on the person's lifestyle. The improvement was maintained when the clients self-treated. FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONNAIRE: A follow-up questionnaire was carried out in 2007--12 months after the project had ended--to elicit whether the patients had suffered from phantom pain over the previous 12 months, whether they still had relief from phantom limb pain and whether they still self-treated.

Conclusions: The project indicated that reflexology treatment, teaching and self-treatment were effective in eradicating or reducing the intensity and duration of phantom limb pain, in this group of clients. The follow-up questionnaire revealed that there was a maintained improvement in the intensity of phantom limb pain the patients experienced and that the majority still self-treated.

Download full-text PDF

Source Listing
May 2008
81 Reads

Publication Analysis

Top Keywords

phantom limb
limb pain
follow-up questionnaire
intensity phantom
hand reflexology
phase weekly
reflexology treatment
pilot study
30-week period
amputations phantom
lower limb
limb amputations
therapist hand
reflexology booklet

Similar Publications

[Comparison of phantom limb pain or phantom extremity sensation of upper and lower extremity amputations].

Agri 2007 Jan;19(1):50-6

Erciyes University Medical Faculty, Kayseri, Turkey.

The aim of this retrospective study is to evaluate the upper and the lower extremity amputations with regard to phantom pain, phantom sensation and stump pain. A questionnaire consisting of 23 questions was send to the patients who underwent upper or lower extremity amputation surgery between 1996- 2005. The patients were questioned for the presence of phantom pain and sensations and if they existed for the frequency, intensity, cause of amputation, pre-amputation pain, stump pain, usage of artificial limb. Read More

View Article
January 2007

Factors associated with phantom limb pain: a 31/2-year prospective study.

Clin Rehabil 2010 May;24(5):444-53

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and Graduate School for Health Research (SHARE), University Medical Centre Groningen, University of Groningen.

Objective: To analyse the prevalence of phantom (limb) pain over time and to analyse factors associated with phantom (limb) pain in a prospective cohort of amputees.

Design: A multicentre longitudinal study.

Patients: One hundred and thirty-four patients scheduled for amputation were included. Read More

View Article
May 2010

Painful and nonpainful phantom and stump sensations in acute traumatic amputees.

J Trauma 2008 Oct;65(4):858-64

Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.

Background: The formation, prevalence, intensity, course, and predisposing factors of phantom limb pain were investigated to determine possible mechanisms of the origin of phantom limb pain in traumatic upper limb amputees.

Methods: Ninety-six upper limb amputees participated in the study. A questionnaire assessed the following question: side, date, extension, and cause of amputation; preamputation pain; and presence or absence of phantom pain, phantom and stump sensations or stump pain or both. Read More

View Article
October 2008

[Phantom pain following leg amputation: retrospective study of incidence, therapy and the effect of preoperative analgesia].

Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 1996 May;140(20):1080-3

Academisch Ziekenhuis Vrije Universiteit, afd. Anesthesiologie, Amsterdam.

Objective: Evaluation of (a) the incidence of phantom limb pain after a lower limb amputation, (b) the influence of either general or epidural anaesthesia on the incidence, and (c) the different kinds of therapies applied.

Design: Retrospective.

Setting: Department of Anaesthesiology, Academic Hospital, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Read More

View Article
May 1996