Effect of sensory discrimination training on cortical reorganisation and phantom limb pain

Lancet. 2001 Jun 2;357(9270):1763-4. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(00)04890-X.


Phantom limb pain is a frequent consequence of the amputation of a body part. Based on the finding that phantom limb pain is closely associated with plastic changes in the primary somatosensory cortex and animal data showing that behaviourally relevant training alters the cortical map, we devised a sensory discrimination training programme for patients with intractable phantom limb pain. Compared with a control group of medically treated patients, the training group had significant reductions in phantom limb pain (p=0.002) and cortical reorganisation (p=0.05) that were positively associated with improved sensory discrimination ability.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Letter
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amputation Stumps
  • Arm / surgery
  • Discrimination Learning*
  • Electric Stimulation*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Management*
  • Phantom Limb / therapy*
  • Somatosensory Cortex*