TJ’S PHANTOM LIMB PAIN EXPERIENCE
TJ had chronic Phantom Limb Pain(PLP) after his amputation following a traumatic injury. He experienced his phantom limb as a permanently strongly closed fist. In the beginning, he took prescription drugs to manage his pain. However, he soon abandoned them due to their severe side effects. He tried mirror therapy, acupuncture, and self-suggested hypnosis, all of them unsuccessful in treating his pain. The PLP continued over the years. He described the pain as a constant burning pain of an intensity of 3 on a scale from 0 to 10. The pain escalated to excruciating pain every hour for a few minutes. Also, he also woke up during the night due to intense episodes of pain.
The Phantom Motor Execution Treatment
For 48 years, 72-year-old TJ continued to live with chronic pain until he enrolled for a study at the Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden. The research group was exploring the Phantom Motor Execution treatment with a device that would soon become Neuromotus.
“Before I started the treatment, I had heavy phantom limb pain that would last for several minutes. After the first two treatments, the pain became worse. Then the pain started to diminish. And the phantom hand that was clenched for 48 years started to unclench and I could feel how it opened. The pain became less and less as time passed.”
“The phantom hand that was clenched for 48 years started to unclench and I could feel how it opened. The pain became less and less as time passed.”
After 4 weeks of doing the treatment once a week, he reported episodes of lower pain intensity. After 10 weeks, periods of almost absent pain occurred. This then developed into completely pain-free periods a couple of sessions later. TJ recalls this as the most dramatic effect: “These pain-free periods are something almost new to me, and it is an extremely pleasant sensation.”
TJ’s results were published in the Frontiers in Neuroscience in 2014. This publishing saw TJ’s story reported on several major news channels like BBC News, ABC News, Fox News, and Arte TV. These results motivated the development of Neuromotus and a larger clinical trial to validate the treatment’s efficacy.