Treatment of Phantom Limb Pain utilizing Augmented Reality (AR) is an exciting new service and research area for us. Developed by Dr. Max Ortiz-Catalan from Sweden, we were very excited to hear about his use of Augmented Reality (AR) in successfully treating phantom limb pain of amputees. To understand more, take a look at his Ted Talk
Dr. Ortiz-Catalan’s group also recently completed a study on 12 people with phantom limb pain from upper limb amputations with positive results.
In early 2016, we contacted Dr. Ortiz-Catalan and discussed bringing his AR program to Canada for work with Canadian Veterans. He had initially estimated that it would take about 10 years to get this technology to Europe and even longer to the U.S. and then to Canada. On a lecture tour to Canada he graciously stopped in Toronto to meet with us in March, 2017. He provided us with the software, hardware and training to use AR in our practice. From our office, Dr. Lorraine Champaigne, Dr. Keith Klassen, Dr. Kevin Saroka neuroscientist, and Trish Perreault, Neurofeedback therapist were all there. We are currently mastering the training, consulting ongoing with Dr. Ortiz-Catalan and using this Augmented Reality based therapy with clients.
Although initially the AR program was for treating phantom limb pain from upper limb amputation, it has recently been expanded to include lower limb amputation as well. For our Canadian Veterans injured by IEDs in Afghanistan, this is an important development and we want to further explore use of specialized software and are examining how well this works for lower limb phantom limb pain. Our goal is to establish and demonstrate the usefulness of this therapy and help refine protocols for lower limb phantom limb treatment. Once established, we want to help get this Augmented Reality therapy out to all who can benefit from the treatment of phantom limb pain.