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Fluids & Electrolytes
After limb amputation, phantom pain can be excruciating and difficult to control with drugs. Now a simple new device called a stump stocking may offer relief.
Researchers speculate that external electromagnetic impulses (as from power lines or electrical devices) irritate nerve endings and trigger phantom pain. They believe that the stump stocking, which consists of a silicone liner interwoven with an electromagnetic shield, works by blocking these impulses.
They tested their theory in a small group of patients with limb amputations. The 22 patients who completed the trial rated their pain as a 3 or higher on a 0-to-10 pain-rating scale on at least 10 days per month. The patients wore the liner with or without the electromagnetic shield in place for 2-week periods and rated their phantom pain six times a day. Both liners reduced pain compared with baseline, but adding the electromagnetic shield was significantly more effective.
The study was supported by medi Bayreuth, a German firm that manufactures the stocking.
Kern U, et al., Management of phantom pain with a textile, electromagnetically-acting stump liner: A randomized, double-blind, crossover study, Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, October 2006.
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