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Phantom limb pain is attributed to abnormal sensorimotor cortical representations, although the causal relationship between phantom limb pain and sensorimotor cortical representations suffers from the potentially confounding effects of phantom hand movements. We developed neurofeedback training to change sensorimotor cortical representations without explicit phantom hand movements or hand-like visual feedback. We tested the feasibility of neurofeedback training in fourteen patients with phantom limb pain. Neurofeedback training was performed in a single-blind, randomized, crossover trial using two decoders constructed using motor cortical currents measured during phantom hand movements; the motor cortical currents contralateral or ipsilateral to the phantom hand (contralateral and ipsilateral training) were estimated from magnetoencephalograms. Patients were instructed to control the size of a disk, which was proportional to the decoding results, but to not move their phantom hands or other body parts. The pain assessed by the visual analogue scale was significantly greater after contralateral training than after ipsilateral training. Classification accuracy of phantom hand movements significantly increased only after contralateral training. These results suggested that the proposed neurofeedback training changed phantom hand representation and modulated pain without explicit phantom hand movements or hand-like visual feedback, thus showing the relation between the phantom hand representations and pain.

Original publication




Journal article


J Pain

Publication Date



Brain–computer interface, Magnetoencephalography, Neurofeedback training, Phantom limb pain, sensorimotor plasticity