The following is a summary of “Physiotherapy: A potential and novel treatment approach for phantom limb pain in post-amputee patients – A systematic review,” published in the August 2023 issue of Pain by Gautam et al.
Researchers conducted a retrospective study to assess the efficacy of physiotherapy interventions for phantom limb pain (PLP) in post-amputee patients.
They systematically searched multiple electronic databases, including PUBMED, Google Scholar, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), following the PRISMA method. Only articles published within the last 12 years (2010–2022) that assessed the effectiveness of various physiotherapy interventions for post-amputee patients with PLP were included. Two independent reviewers evaluated the methodological quality and risk of bias using the PEDro scale, the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies (MINORS), and Cochrane Collaboration’s assessment tool.
The results showed 1,840 articles, 17 articles (11 RCTs and 6 pilot studies) were selected after full-text screening. The evidence from these studies suggests a significant reduction in PLP severity in post-amputee patients through various physiotherapy interventions.
Investigators concluded advanced physiotherapy interventions can improve treatment effectiveness and reduce phantom limb pain in post-amputee patients. However, inconsistent evidence makes consensus difficult. Upcoming randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the best intervention for PLP.