A unique way to treat amputees with phantom limb pain has been devised by doctors using computer-generated augmented reality.

Patients enter a virtual world via a computer where they control a ‘virtual arm’ that helps to relieve pain by deceiving the brain into thinking that the body is whole again.

Amputee Ture Johanson, who lost half of his right arm in a car accident 48 years ago, trialled the new technology and said that the reduction in pain was significant thanks to the new computer programme, which he now uses regularly at home.

It is not yet clear whether the virtual treatment will have the same result on anyone else who suffers from the condition, or if the effects are permanent, but researchers will soon start a clinical trial to investigate this further.

Imogen Wetton, a serious injury lawyer for Thompsons, said: “The devastating effects that losing a limb can have for the individual, as well as the emotional strain it can put on family is something that we have spent a lot of time making sure is accounted for in the compensation we seek and provided for in the care packages we work with our clients to put together.

“This new technology could turn the life of an amputee around considerably. The mere fact that this is starting to be talked of and worked on in trials is hugely exciting. It’s something we will be watching closely to see if it can be made available to our clients at some point in the future.”