Has anyone done Graded motor imagery/mirror therapy?

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I ordered the handbook and a mirror box which looks like a do-it-yourself sort of thing after my PT seemed to be kind of jumbled about actually doing it.  She has the theory down, just not the practicalities of the how to do it.  LOL we may both be using the handbook and the mirror box.  The studies I read were saying this was useful in early CRPS, which is me, so I figured I'd give it a go.  I am getting frightened watching it creep up my leg, it's now up to my knee and it's only been 3 weeks since I was diagnosed! Yikes....

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6 Replies

  • Posted


    When I was in physical therapy the therapist talked about doing it and brought a mirror over and I tried to do it. But the therapist didn't seem to know how to do it either.

    So, I never did it.

    I hope it works out for you.


    • Posted

      Thanks, Tracy, I will let you know.  It seems to be one of those rarely used techniques they teach PTs to be thorough, but don't teach it well enough for them to be familiar with it.  I found out mine was doing it backwards, I was supposed to be looking at my normal foot in the mirror, she had me looking at the bad one LOL.  Good intentions though, she did dig the mirror out of the closet! 

  • Posted


    Sounds like a plan for sure, but the rapid spread of your signs and symptoms may indicate that you are one who could benefit from a course of steroid treatment. I feel like an idiot saying check with your doctor, as YOU are a doctor... But just want to add here:There seems to be per the literature, a limited window of time in which this is effective.

    I wish I would have known this in Fall of 2015... Lucky you recognized what you were looking at when this thing started up!  Not much literature on this yet, but it does look like if you can catch it early, steroids are one of the most, if not THE most, effective option.

    Wishing you the best outcome!


  • Posted

    OK so here is my course of treatment so far. I got the guided imagery book and app, discovered I have no left/right brain issues right away.  I then moved on, as the guidebook said to explicit motor imagery--this is imagining you moving your affected limb in what would normally be a painful way but you try to imagine it being non-painful.  This is really hard.  They say if you can't do it to try imagining it with your good limb first and then the bad one.  When you can do this well, then you move to mirror therapy. Well, this was too darn slow for me, by the time I could imagine moving my limb without pain it would be frozen in position, which I am really afraid of.  So, I started mirror therapy, correctly, with my good limb in the mirror.  I go through a whole series of range of motion for the ankle while I keep my bad limb hidden and motionless. I then touch the good limb and bad limb to try to desensitize the bad limb.  Finally I go through the range of motion again, but this time both limbs do the motions together.  It helps with the pain a lot and also with my ROM on the bad side.  I try to do the ROM with the mirror at least twice a day.  Now, in addition they upped my gabapentin, put me on clonidine, a buprenorphene patch.  I also switched super duper creams to one that had ketamine in it, this had a profound effect.  Within two applications it had a noticeable effect on the pain, it had also made my hair super greasy as I use it on my neck LOL.  Finally, on Tuesday I get the first in a series of two lumbar sympathetic blocks.

    I don't want to mess with steroids because a few weeks ago I had trigger point injections done with them ( a miniscule amount) and it bumped up my fasting blood sugar which would seem like no big deal, but I eat NO sugar at all, my daily carbs are under 20 g. So, steroids mess with my pancreas big time.  

    I shall keep you all up to date on where we go with this.

  • Posted

    I had the lumbar sympathetic block today, LOL under sedation because I am a big baby.  I came home with the foot not throbbing. I noticed immediately I really didn't need my cane.  My mirror therapy went by like a breeze. My standing time on the foot wasn't increased as much as the pain relief.  My range of motion was also improved.  All of this lasted from the time of the block 10 AM until about 5 PM when things slowly started deteriorating.  My doc goes out of town next week, unfortunately-- he would have liked to do 3 blocks each week, but I am getting the next one 2 weeks from now and then the 3rd in a week. His thoughts are that we are catching this so early--within the first 2-3 months, that if we keep shutting the ganglion down it might get the idea to permanently shut down.

  • Posted

    May I also say, please don't feel intimidated by my degree, please please respond to what I post. Heck, tell me I am full of BS, MDs don't know everything and I am here to learn as well as to help. I just want to be one of the group, I have so many pain issues I can't work anymore to help people IRL so I "volunteer" on places like this and let people pick my brain,I do what I can to suggest help, but I also need to vent and ask for help too.


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