Open Access Brain Activity Measured With Near-Infrared Spectroscopy During EMDR Treatment of Phantom Limb Pain

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This report describes a female client with phantom limb pain (PLP), who was successfully treated by eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) using a PLP protocol, as well as her cerebral activities, measured by near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), throughout the therapeutic session. She suffered from paralysis in the left lower limb because of sciatic nerve damage caused by a surgical accident, in which she awoke temporarily from anesthesia during surgery and felt intense fear. When recalling this experience, the superior temporal sulcus was activated. However, at the end of the session, her PLP was almost eliminated, with a generalized decrease in cerebral blood flow. This case suggests the possibility of involvement of a posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-like mechanism in the pathogenesis of PLP, as well as the possible efficacy of EMDR for this type of PLP.
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  • The Journal of EMDR Practice and Research is a quarterly, peer-reviewed publication devoted to integrative, state-of-the-art papers about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a broadly conceived interdisciplinary journal that stimulates and communicates research and theory about EMDR, and their application to clinical practice.
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