A study comparing measures of body image and perception between adults with and without post-amputation phantom limb pain found that adults with phantom limb pain demonstrated more negative body image and hypervigilance of the phantom limb than peers with non-painful phantom sensations. The researchers concluded that mind-body treatments that target impaired body image and perception may be critical interventions for adults with phantom limb pain.
Seventy-two adults who experienced unilateral lower-limb loss at least one year prior participated (42 with phantom limb pain, 30 without phantom limb pain or pain in the remaining portion of the limb). The researchers administered self-reported outcome measures assessing body image (Amputee Body Image Scale-Revised), perceptual disturbances associated with the phantom limb (a modified BATH CRPS Body Perception Disturbance Scale), and prosthesis satisfaction (Trinity Amputation and Prosthesis Experience Scale). Participants with phantom limb pain reported pain interference via the Brief Pain Inventory-Short Form. Between-group comparisons of self-reported outcome measure scores were conducted.
Compared to peers without phantom limb pain, adults with phantom limb pain reported more negative body image; increased phantom limb ownership, attention, and awareness; and reduced prosthesis satisfaction and embodiment, according to the study. Disturbances in phantom limb perception (i.e., size, weight, pressure, temperature) were similar between groups, and more negative body image was associated with increased phantom limb pain interference.
The study, “Body image and perception among adults with and without phantom limb pain,” was published in PM&R.