Pain, Mirror Box Therapy and You

Techniques that work for YOU
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:49 pm
Injury Description, Date, extent, surgical intervention etc: Injured Hune 26, 2012
Motoorcycle accident
Drivers changed lanes into my bike causing me to swerve into a telephone pole
4 nerves fully avulsed with 1 partially avulsed

Pain, Mirror Box Therapy and You

Post by willschmahl »

Hello everyone,

I am actually new to this forum and i joined specifically because it was suggested that i post some of my finer guides to pain management in a location where they wont disapear into the eather of facebook. One such guide is the one i am presenting in this post. It is regarding Mirror Box Therapy and how you can use it even though you may not be an amputee victim. The reality is for some of us with full root avulsions our brains perceive our arms as being amputated and that is why we encounter phantom limb pain in a very similar degree to that of an actual amputee victim. Anyway below is the post i listed in both of the Brachial Plexus facebook groups of which i am a member. Here it is:

If you have phantom pain like your fingers are in a knot or are being crushed then mirror box therapy is the best cure without going into heavy opiates or cannabis. This is my mirror box. My dad made it for me while I was in hospital right after my accident. I've been using it for three years. It's relieved more pain than I could ever imagine. It costs around 30$ to make. Just a mirror, some glue and a box. Get one.

Eventually you will be able to imagine the mirror box and relieve the pain using the therapy no matter your location.

Make sure the mirror has no scratches in it. A glass mirror works better than a plastic mirror as a plastic one has a ghosting effect which shows double and can cause pain.

Make sure the mirror is not warped as a distortion of your fingers will once again be anti productive and can cause pain or make the process to relieve the pain take longer.

the goal here is to produce a perfect replication of your right hand in the mirror to make the process of tricking your brain faster and more complete. As my father has always said "the illusion must be complete"

as for the process:

Begin with closing your eyes as you place your bad arm inside the mirror box and your good arm on the outside of the box opposite your bad arm.

Before you open your eyes try and replicate the position of your right arm/hand as perfectly as possible.

Now open your eyes and keep your phantom/bad arm completely still while correcting what position adjustments need to be made with only your good arm to match the position of your bad arm in the mirror. once again the goal is to make a perfect replication of your bad arm in the mirror

Once your good arm/hand matches your phantom/bad hand keep both still for several minutes and stare at them. Try and look at the details of your hand in the mirror. Do not look at your good hand, only the hand that is reflected in the mirror. The goal is to trick your mind into believing the image in the mirror is in fact your bad/phantom arm/hand.

after several minutes, begin with small movements of your good hand while trying to replicate those movements with that of your bad/phantom arm/hand. I start by curling all 4 of my main fingers into a fist, slowly and then opening them again. I do this repeatedly over the course of several minutes until the action of the image in the mirror is what naturally happens to the action of the bad/phantom hand.

As you do this, it will become easier and easier to replicate the movements with your phantom arm. The first time i attempted this my fingers felt like they were in a knot but once i started replicating the movements of my good arm with that of my bad arm as represented in the mirror, my fingers began to force themselves into a natural position and then follow the movements i made with my good hand. It hurt like hell and i screamed for a few seconds but once they were once again straightened and matching the image in the mirror the pain i felt was alleviated.

Do these actions for no more than an absolute maximum of ten minutes at a time. Anymore can be counter productive in my experience as well as that of the pioneer of this therapy Dr ramachandran.

Here is a video with him showing the mirrorbox with an amputee victim
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Posts: 845
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2003 10:09 pm
Injury Description, Date, extent, surgical intervention etc: Date of Injury: 12/15/02

Level of Injury:
-dominant side C5, C6, & C7 avulsed. C8 & T1 stretched & crushed

BPI Related Surgeries:
-2 Intercostal nerves grafted to Biceps muscle,
-Free-Gracilis muscle transfer to Biceps Region innervated with 2 Intercostal nerves grafts.
-2 Sural nerves harvested from both Calves for nerve grafting.
-Partial Ulnar nerve grafted to Long Triceps.
-Uninjured C7 Hemi-Contralateral cross-over to Deltoid muscle.
-Wrist flexor tendon transfer to middle, ring, & pinky finger extensors.

Surgical medical facility:
Brachial Plexus Clinic at The Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN
(all surgeries successful)

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
~Theodore Roosevelt
Location: Los Angeles, California USA

Re: Pain, Mirror Box Therapy and You

Post by Christopher »

Great post! Thanks