BBC Points West Health Correspondent
Martin Forsyth who suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is using mirror therapy to treat his symptoms.
Patients in Bristol and Bath are using mirrors to fight Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CPRS) - a condition that causes extreme pain in their limbs.
A study at Bath's Mineral Hospital has confirmed patients are managing to improve their symptoms with the therapy.
The condition affects about 12,000 people in the UK at a one time.
Martin Forsyth, 48, who is being treated at Southmead hospital in Bristol, finds taking every step excruciatingly painful.
He has been living with CPRS for the past two and a half years.
During that time he has spent a total of nine months in hospital whenever the condition flared up.
"My leg becomes inflamed, the foot becomes inverted and the pain level is really quite intolerable," he said.
"The pain is best described as like having chronic toothache. It just pounds away day and night," said Mr Forsyth.
CPRS COMMON SYMPTOMS
Increased skin sensitivity
Changes in skin temperature
Changes in skin colour
Changes in nail and hair growth
Swelling and stiffness in joints
Often the pain spreads to include the entire arm or leg, even though the initial injury may have been a single finger or toe.
CPRS is usually treated through physiotherapy, and pain killers. But Southmead and Bath Mineral Hospitals are pioneering mirror therapy.
The research team speculated CPRS could be due to the brain processing pain messages in the wrong way.
By looking at the mirror image of Martin's good leg, he may be able to trick his brain into changing the messages sent to his bad leg, and so improve the function of his nerves.
Mr Forsyth's physiotherapist at Southmead Hospital, Rachel Lewis, said: "The idea is the mirror sends some of that information back and changes the pathways to make it much more of a correct pathway."
The technique was first used at the Bath Mineral Hospital in the late 1990s to treat phantom limb pain for patients with amputated limbs.