Effects of phantom exercises on pain, mobility, and quality of life among lower limb amputees; a randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Background: The objective of the current study is to evaluate the effects of phantom exercises on phantom limb pain, mobility status, and quality of life in lower limb amputees treated with mirror therapy and routine physiotherapy. Methods: It is a randomized controlled trial in which 24 unilateral lower limb amputees (above and below the knee) were randomly assigned to two equal groups i.e., control group (mirror therapy and conventional physical therapy) and experimental group in which, phantom exercises were given, additionally. Physical therapy included conventional therapeutic exercises while phantom exercises include imagining the movement of the phantom limb and attempting to execute these movements Data were collected at baseline, after 2 and 4 weeks of intervention using VAS (pain), AMP (mobility) and RAND SF-36 Version 1.0 (QOL) questionnaires. All statistical analyses were done with IBM SPSS 25.0 with 95% CI. Results: Twenty-four amputees (17 males and 7 females) participated in this trial. The Mean age of the participants in experimental and control groups was 45.3 ± 11.1 years and 40.5 ± 12.5 years respectively. After the intervention, the pain (VAS score) was significantly lower in the experimental group (p = 0.003). Similarly, the experimental group demonstrated a significantly better score in the “bodily pain” domain of SF-36 (p = 0.012). Both groups significantly (p < 0.05) improved in other domains of SF-36 and ambulatory potential with no significant (p > 0.05) between-group differences. Conclusions: The Addition of phantom exercises resulted in significantly better pain management in lower limb amputees treated with mirror therapy and routine physiotherapy. Trial registration: This study is registered in the U.S National Library of Medicine. The clinical trials registration number for this study is NCT04285138 (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier) (Date: 26/02/2020).

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Zaheer, A., Malik, A. N., Masood, T., & Fatima, S. (2021). Effects of phantom exercises on pain, mobility, and quality of life among lower limb amputees; a randomized controlled trial. BMC Neurology, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12883-021-02441-z

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