First Advisor

Dr. Ashley Fricks-Gleason


Dr. Amanda Hine


Regis College

Degree Name


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

93 pages


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

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

All content in this Collection is owned by and subject to the exclusive control of Regis University and the authors of the materials. It is available only for research purposes and may not be used in violation of copyright laws or for unlawful purposes. The materials may not be downloaded in whole or in part without permission of the copyright holder or as otherwise authorized in the “fair use” standards of the U.S. copyright laws and regulations.