EMDR in the treatment of chronic phantom limb pain: Theoretical implications, case study, and treatment guidelines
Objective: Little research substantiates long-term gains in the treatment of phantom limb pain. This report describes and evaluates an eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) treatment with extensive follow-up. Design: A case series of phantom limb pain patients. Setting. In-patient hospitalization and out-patient private practice. Patients: Case series of five patients with phantom limb pain ranging from 1 to 16 years. All patents were on extensive medication regimens prior to EMDR. Interventions: Three to 15 sessions of EMDR were used to treat the pain and the psychological ramifications. Outcome Measures: Patients were measured for continued use of medications, pain intensity/frequency, psychological trauma, and depression. Results: EMDR resulted in a significant decrease or elimination of phantom pain, reduction in depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms to subclinical levels, and significant reduction or elimination of medications related to the phantom pain and nociceptive pain at long-term follow-up. Conclusions: The overview and long-term follow-up indicate that EMDR was successful in the treatment of both the phantom limb pain and the psychological consequences of amputation. The latter include issues of personal loss, grief, self-image, and social adjustment. These results suggest that (1) a significant aspect of phantom limb pain is the physiological memory storage of the nociceptive pain sensations experienced at the time of the event and (2) these memories can be successfully reprocessed. Further research is needed to explore the theoretical and treatment implications of this information-processing approach.
Original Work Citation
Schneider, J., Hofmann, A., Rost, C., & Shapiro, F. (2008, January-February). EMDR in the treatment of chronic phantom limb pain: Theoretical implications, case study, and treatment guidelines. Pain Medicine, 9(1), 76-82. doi:10.1111/j.1526-4637.2007.00299.x
“EMDR in the treatment of chronic phantom limb pain: Theoretical implications, case study, and treatment guidelines,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 26, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/16193.