A MULTIFACETED APPROACH TO THE TREATMENT OF PHANTOM LIMB PAIN USING HYPNOSIS

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Abstract

This study looks at the efficacy of a multifaceted approach to the relief of phantom limb pain. Using hypnosis, four therapeutic interventions are incorporated into this treatment: hypnotic analgesia; visualization and movement of an imaginary limb to facilitate the movement of the phantom limb; psychological therapy and self-hypnosis. Twenty-five amputees completed a course of hypnosis averaging six weekly sessions. All patients were taught self-hypnosis and encouraged to continue this practice on a daily basis. The levels, duration and frequency of all pains were recorded before and after each session with a follow-up postal questionnaire sent out six months after treatments were completed. Results showed a highly significant (p < 0.001) reduction in pain levels from baseline to post treatment. Pain levels showed some increase by the six month follow-up questionnaire but were still significantly lower than the baseline. This study supports these combined hypnotic techniques as a treatment for phantom limb pain.

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