Phantom Limb Pain

Published on: October 12, 2014

Phantom limb pain is pain that is felt from a body part that is no longer there. For many years doctors believed this post-amputation phenomenon was a psychological problem. However, it has now been determined that there is actual pain associated with real sensations that originate in the spinal cord and brain and travel to body parts that are no longer there. Phantom limb pain typically occurs in those who have had a leg or arm amputated. Many people find that time heals their painful sensations, however for many, managing the pain can be a challenge. Working with an experienced orthopedic physician can help to treat phantom limb pain and improve one’s quality of life.

Phantom limb pain can range from mild to severe and can be chronic or acute. While it is expected for people to experience phantom sensations within the first few days of amputation, phantom limb pain has a tendency to continue in many patients. The nerves in the brain and spinal cord that were attached to the limb have been severed, yet they are still alive and functioning. In many patients these nerves continue to send signals to an amputated body part that they are in distress or in pain. Many people find that their symptoms of phantom limb pain are triggered by emotional stress, changes in the weather, or pressure on the remaining part of the limb.

Non invasive treatments for phantom limb pain are aimed at interrupting the pain signals to the brain. There are a variety of non-surgical options including massage, physical therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), neurostimulation, and medications. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove scar tissue that entangles the nerves.

If you are suffering from phantom limb pain after amputation, contact an orthopedic physician. You can be on your way to a higher quality of life, staying active and being pain free.

Posted on behalf of Find Local Doctors

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