Immersive Virtual Reality Therapy with Myoelectric Control for Treatment-resistant Phantom Limb Pain: Case Report.
Innov Clin Neurosci. 2017 Jul-Aug;14(7-8):3-7
Authors: Chau B, Phelan I, Ta P, Humbert S, Hata J, Tran D
Objective: Phantom limb pain is a condition frequently experienced after amputation. One treatment for phantom limb pain is traditional mirror therapy, yet some patients do not respond to this intervention, and immersive virtual reality mirror therapy offers some potential advantages. We report the case of a patient with severe phantom limb pain following an upper limb amputation and successful treatment with therapy in a custom virtual reality environment. Methods: An interactive 3-D kitchen environment was developed based on the principles of mirror therapy to allow for control of virtual hands while wearing a motion-tracked, head-mounted virtual reality display. The patient used myoelectric control of a virtual hand as well as motion-tracking control in this setting for five therapy sessions. Pain scale measurements and subjective feedback was elicited at each session. Results: Analysis of the measured pain scales showed statistically significant decreases per session [Visual Analog Scale, Short Form McGill Pain Questionnaire, and Wong-Baker FACES pain scores decreased by 55 percent (p=0.0143), 60 percent (p=0.023), and 90 percent (p=0.0024), respectively]. Significant subjective pain relief persisting between sessions was also reported, as well as marked immersion within the virtual environments. On followup at six weeks, the patient noted continued decrease in phantom limb pain symptoms. Conclusions: Currently available immersive virtual reality technology with myolectric and motion tracking control may represent a possible therapy option for treatment-resistant phantom limb pain.
PMID: 29616149 [PubMed]