Acupuncture needles on back of a young woman

Dorset Orthopaedic are excited to announce that we will be increasing their rehabilitation services to include acupuncture as a treatment for phantom limb pain.  Phantom limb pain or other phantom sensations are common symptoms following the amputation of a limb and can be very distressing.

It has been known for some time that the limbs are represented, or mapped,  in the brain and that when a limb is missing, the brain “searches” for it by producing greater signals which are perceived as pain, cramping, a change in temperature, pins and needles, trickling water and many other phenomena. The hands and feet have greater representation in the brain and hence phantom symptoms are often strongest in these absent areas.

Acupuncture for this type of problem is normally done on the opposite limb, or may be done on the spine if both limbs are missing. These signals will reach the brain and may affect the way the brain is processing the incoming signals with the result of dampening them down.

There have been many studies aside from looking at phantom pain which demonstrate good pain relief from many other conditions using acupuncture. The most likely explanation for this is the known release of endorphins and other similar “brain chemicals” which act as pain relievers. This may be another way in which acupuncture can help with pain.

For more information on the rehabilitation services, contact Mary Tebb, Specialist Physiotherapist at

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