First Advisor

Dr. Ashley Fricks-Gleason

Reader

Dr. Amanda Hine

College

Regis College

Degree Name

BS

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

93 pages

Abstract

During the Civil War, American physician Silas Weir Mitchell was the first to coin the “phantom” to the sensations individuals experienced in their nonintact limb following limb amputation. Even though physicians have been aware of phantom sensations, and similarly phantom limb pain, for over a century, the mechanism for the pain is not well understood. Because the mechanisms are not well understood, my thesis provides a bioethical framework for clinicians in order to treat phantom limb pain. The thesis begins with an introduction to the history of phantom limb pain and the current theories available to explain the phenomenon. It then looks at the treatments available for phantom limb pain and focuses specifically on mirror therapy. Mirror therapy is a noninvasive, physical therapy practice available for phantom limb pain. Through the framework provided, my thesis argues that mirror therapy should be the first treatment presented to patients experiencing phantom limb pain. It concludes with my own theory of why phantom limb could exist, and further directions of where research and treatment should be focused on phantom limb pain.

Date of Award

Spring 2019

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