The Experience Of Phantom Limbs Essay

1846 words - 8 pages

A phantom is a persistent image or memory of a body part, generally a limb, for a period of time after its loss that can last months, even years. Silas Weir Mitchell studied this phenomenon during the Civil War. For amputees, phantom limbs are essential to regaining use of limbs following prosthetic procedures, without this sensation the recovery and reanimation of limbs can be disastrous. Positional phantoms, a type of phantom that leads to proprioceptive illusions and ever changing distorted images, can bring about acute onset tabes that leads to the feeling of being on “a ship in heavy seas” (68). The jury is still out on whether or not phantoms can be termed good or bad, but it seems they allow those with prosthetics to keep the limb alive, active and well; a necessary part to recovery. Pain may accompany phantoms; generally these are dull or ‘ordinary’ types of pain, but they can be sharp and excruciating in some cases. Having a phantom can lead to severe sensory diabetic neuropathy, like it did for the sailor in the story. However, the experience of a pathological disorder can cure phantoms.
There are still questions as to exactly which pathways are involved with the experience of phantom limbs. Originally it was believed the peripheral nervous system was involved, but this theory including the concept of neuromas (nerves in stumps that fire the sensations of pain up the spinal cord to the brain) has since been widely disregarded. The central theory suggests that phantom limb pain is a result of central sensitization, or excessive activity in the spinal cord. This occurs as a result of the spinal cord losing the afferent input from the missing limb. The neurons in the dorsal horn thus get irritated and increase their excitability. This neuronal excitability, coupled with the reduced inhibitory effects, results in a self-perpetuating loop that sends noxious signals up the spinothalamic tract to the cortex where the proprioceptive sensation of phantom limbs would be felt. Still, this theory has also been called into question by the fact that patients with upper body spinal cord injuries still report pain and sensation in the lower legs. Another theory revolves around the somatosensory cortex and the body map associated within this area of the brain. Studies have shown that cortical representation of the body can be remapped and reorganized; if part of the cortex is unused then the surrounding areas take over that space. For instance if the hand is amputated, the represented area for the hand in the somatosensory cortex is no longer in use. Since the face area is located directly next to the hand in the cortex, the face gets remapped onto the area of the missing hand. Phantom limb pain seems to be correlated to the amount of cortical reorganization. So the more remapping of the cortex that occurs, the more pain the patient will feel in the phantom limb. This correlation could be related to an enduring nociceptive pathway from some pain in...

Find Another Essay On The Experience of Phantom Limbs

The Fantastical Elements of Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera

1212 words - 5 pages The Fantastical Elements of Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera      In Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera fantastic literature is displayed at its best. Originally published in 1911, this French writer produced one of the most famous novels in French history. Created into a play and a musical produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, this story has touched millions. However, this transition from a novel to a theatrical performance has caused

Phantom Limb Phenomenon: The Effects of Unattributed Causality

2460 words - 10 pages , patients are able to look at the reflection of the normal hand in the mirror and are able to visually experience the limb that is missing (Ramachandran & Rogers-Ramachandran, 2008). With this visualization, patients found that they could not only see the phantom hand move but also could feel it move as well (Ramachandran & Rogers-Ramachandran, 2008). As a result, patients were able to relieve their pain temporarily. In 2010, encouraging new

Analysis of Billing's Article, Are Women in Management Victims of the Phantom of the Male Norm?

3539 words - 14 pages Introduction This research paper will discuss a paper published in volume 18 of Gender, Work and Organization (ISSN 0968-6673), in the Human Resource Management and Employment Studies field, titled “Are Women in Management Victims of the Phantom of the Male Norm?” (Billing 2011). Yvonne Due Billing is an Associate Professor working at the Department of Sociology in the University of Copenhagen. She has more than 60 published research

Historical China References in Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

1544 words - 6 pages Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame is a movie produced by the budding movie industry of China. Directed by Tsui Hark, the movie takes place during the Tang Dynasty, just before the inauguration of Empress Wu Zetian. It is a fictional adventure of the famous Di Renji, a chancellor of both the Tang and the Zhou dynasties. Although the movie portrays many of its characters to have superhuman abilities while depicting a fictional

The experience of filmmaking

1323 words - 5 pages The experience of filmmakingIt is generally accepted that films are the products of the director's effort to unify the various components of film into something that bears his signature. There are many more people involved during the production phase of manufacturing a motion picture than just the director. An audience doesn't see the people and procedures such as film stock, scripts, locations, and the crew needed to make a film.The director of

The Experience Of War

947 words - 4 pages The Experience Of War Many authors have written about war themes, some extracts of the stories and poems that I have read and researched are The Upturned Face by Steven Crane .It is about a fictional war being fought in an imaginary Europe. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell describes his senses and feeling of getting shot in the neck during battle. Exposure by Wilfred Owen,describes the horrors and reality of being in the trenches of

Examination of the Slave Experience

1303 words - 5 pages Examination of the Slave Experience Most African Americans of the early to mid-nineteenth century experienced slavery on plantations similar to the experiences described by Frederick Douglass; the majority of slaves lived on units owned by planters who had twenty or more slaves. The planters and the white masters of these agrarian communities sought to ensure their personal safety and the profitability of their enterprises by using all

The Experience Of The War In Korea

1569 words - 6 pages The Experience Of The War In Korea The Korean War was a trying time for America. The nation was getting involved in a war that had little or no possibility of a fortunate outcome. The Korean people were divided among how the country should be run. A uniform system of government looked like it may never come to be. In order to protect one of its vital interests as well as to prove to the rest of the world that America didn’t stand for

Religious Experience and the Existence of God

1368 words - 5 pages Religious experience presents a convincing argument for the existence of God analyse this claim (12) S.T.Davies describes a Religious experience as a non-empirical, (all in the mind/ personal rather than analysable by science) experience. He said these experiences were often spontaneous, (believers need no preparation to have these experiences) and unique, (completely individual to the believer having the experience). Many experiences were never

The most meaninful experience of my life.

1088 words - 4 pages For many people the most meaningful experience of their lives is well defined, clear and concise. One given occurrence, at a given time and in a clear setting can change the meaning of life for a person.One late night I sat down in a quiet room in my house to think about my personal experiences, the only sound in the house came from an old mantel clock, which I like to keep wound and on time. I very much enjoy listening to the rhythmic tic-tock

The Experience of a Journey in Literature

1717 words - 7 pages travelled. This clearly demonstrates that people on the same physical journey react differently to it, depending on previous experience. In the last stanza of “Crossing the red sea” Skrzynechi uses the image of sunrise to symbolise that the new lives of the immigrants are only starting and that there is a new and better future ahead of them. The sunrise is also used to tell the responder that although it is the end of the poem, it is but only the

Similar Essays

Phantom Of The Opera Essay

498 words - 2 pages Phantom of the Opera      In the novel, Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux, we are introduced to a character known to everyone as the mysterious Opera Ghost. His character in this book is very complex. Although the Opera Ghost is very ugly physically and mentally, through his actions, we can find much beauty.      During the masked ball we are given, what the reader believes at

The Phantom Of The Opera Essay

1470 words - 6 pages The Phantom of the Opera is a novel written by Gaston Leroux. The novel takes place in Paris. The exact time is unknown but would be around 1910. The reviews from the critics are very different. Although Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera has not generally been highly commended by critics, many would agree that there are several elements that prove Leroux to be a talented writer. One of the strongest elements in the

The Regeneration Of Limbs In Class Asteroids

1622 words - 6 pages The ability to regrow missing limbs is an incredible power that a few animals have mastered. The mystery behind how they do it is still not known very well. But hopeful soon we will be able to solve yet again another one of Mother Nature’s many mystery’s and puzzles. One of the best models of this incredible process is starfish. My goal in this paper is to find out about regeneration in starfish. Regeneration is the ability of an organism

Watching The Phantom Of The Opera

1113 words - 4 pages For me, I was lucky that my college offered tickets to see The Phantom of the Opera right around Mothers’ Day. I celebrated the holiday early by taking my mother to see her first professional performance. I bought tickets to see the musical on Monday, May 2, 2011 at 8:00 PM at the Majestic Theatre in New York City. We spent the day shopping in New York with my some of my college mates. When we got to the theatre, I was slightly disappointed