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Recruiting Participants for Virtual Reality to Treat Phantom Limb Pain Study

Feb 28, 2024 |

By Kristi Turner, DHS, OTR/L Senior Research Occupational Therapist II, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab 

Researchers at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab are seeking participants who experience phantom limb pain. This research will evaluate a new virtual reality game-based system for phantom limb pain management. 

Do you have Phantom Limb Pain? Participate in Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s Intuitively-Controlled Virtual Reality to Treat Phantom Limb Pain Study 

This research study is assessing the design and functionality of a new game-based system for managing phantom limb pain. The system utilizes virtual reality games and includes a band with sensors that you would wear around your residual limb. These sensors connect wirelessly to a video game environment. You will also be asked to complete follow-up questionnaires. 

Eligibility Criteria 

  • 18 years of age or older 
  • Have an arm and/or leg amputation(s) or limb difference(s) – including multiple limbs 
  • English speaking 
  • Experience phantom limb pain 
  • Taking the same pain medications for at least 1 month, or do not take pain medication 

People recruited for the study will: 

  • Speak with a Shirley Ryan AbilityLab researcher to determine eligibility 
  • Use the provided system to play games in a mobile app 
  • Participate in up to 4 training visits 
  • Your residual limb will be fit with an electrode cuff and you will be guided through how to use the system using the muscles in your residual limb 
  • Complete an 8-week home trial 
  • You will be asked to use the system for 20-40 minutes, 4-5 times a week 
  • Participate in 4 follow-up visits 

All visits can be done in-person (within Chicagoland area) or virtually via a secure Zoom meeting. 

You will be compensated for your participation: 

  • Up to $780 
  • Initial visit: $40, Training visit(s): $40-$80 
  • 8-week home trial: $50 per week ($400 total) 
  • Follow-up visits: $40 (week 8), $40 (week 16), $40 (week 24), $40 (week 32) 

What happens next? If interested, please contact us: or call (312) 238-2080 

Help spread the word! Do you know someone else who has phantom limb pain? Please share this study with them! 

IRB Project #: STU00213205-CR0002 

Principal Investigator: Levi Hargrove, PhD 

The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is an academic affiliate of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.