Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine if “Mirror therapy is an effective treatment for reducing pain associated with phantom limb syndrome in unilateral amputees.”

STUDY DESIGN: Review of three randomized controlled trials published between 2017 and 2018, with selection based on patient-oriented outcomes and contributing to development of an answer to the clinical question.

DATA SOURCES: All three randomized controlled trials were found using searches within PubMed, published in English in peer-reviewed journals.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: Each randomized controlled trial assessed changes in severity of pain using a survey known as the visual analog scale, where patients reported their pain being between zero, which means no pain at all, up to 10, the most intense pain they have ever felt.

RESULTS: Both Finn et al. (Front Neurol. 2017;8:267. doi:10.3389/fneur.2017.00267) and Ramadugu et al. (Indian J Psychiatry. 2017;59(4):457-464. doi:10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_259_16) demonstrated that mirror therapy for 15 minutes daily for four weeks reduced both severity of pain and daily pain time in phantom limb syndrome patients versus controls. Ol et al. (Scand J Pain. 2018;18(4):603-610. doi:10.1515/sjpain-2018-0042) concluded that mirror therapy for 10 minutes daily, especially when utilized in addition to other methods like tactile therapy, produced more than a 50% decrease in visual analog scale scores measuring severity of pain associated with phantom limb syndrome.

CONCLUSIONS: Mirror therapy has been shown across multiple randomized controlled trials to be effective in reducing both pain severity and duration of pain episodes associated with unilateral amputees who report having phantom limb syndrome.