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The opposite of phantom limb pain?

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  • The opposite of phantom limb pain?

    Interesting case - 74 year old male has ongoing pain relating to spinal issues and complete loss of sensation in his feet. He struggles to walk more than a few yards, but is able to cycle for miles and says that being able to see his feet moving on the bicycle helps. I'm wondering if there is any literature on treating this kind of problem which appears to be the opposite of phantom limb pain (ie, the limb is there but he can't feel it). I was thinking along the lines of little bells attached to his shoes when walking to give his brain another way of 'seeing' his feet......

  • #2
    Interesting idea re little bells, but they might rapidly become irritating. I do a lot of work on sitting to standing and stepping with the 94yo with whom I am currently working. He isn't cycling but insists on going upstairs to bed, for which he uses his arms and hands on the one bannister and what he can reach of the upstairs landing. My patient has cord compression with faecal incontinence and is being monitored by the local neurosurgical centre of excellence.
    Jo Bowyer
    Chartered Physiotherapist Registered Osteopath.
    "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,there is a field. I'll meet you there." Rumi

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    • Jo Bowyer
      Jo Bowyer commented
      Editing a comment
      I had forgotten he was coming in this afternoon! He is not doing well subjectively, has had an increase in his low back pain and hasn't been doing his home exercises. I hope that his GP will review his pain meds. I find no deterioration on examination, and have asked him to come back in 10 days after he has reinstated his exercise routine.

  • #3
    Thanks Jo. I agree that bells could be irritating. Just wondering if anything could be done with mirror therapy.....

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    • Jo Bowyer
      Jo Bowyer commented
      Editing a comment
      Have you tried him? Could he cope with it? I don't think my elderly gentleman could, but he does engage with loading.

  • #4
    Thanks Jo. I'm not treating him - he's a friend under the care of a multidisciplinary team. I'm looking for things he could try on his own. I need to think through how some kind of work with mirrors might help.

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