Phantom Limb Pain – There is Help!

phantom limb painPhantom Limb Pain—There is Help!

Can you suffer pain in a part of your body that is no longer there? The amputation of a limb is a life-changing experience. Imagine losing a limb only to have it replaced by constant chronic pain. Phantom limb pain affects up to 7 in 10 amputees.

What Is Phantom Limb Syndrome?

Phantom limb syndrome is the perception of sensations, including pain, in a limb that has been
amputated. People with this condition experience feelings in the limb as if it were still attached
to their body. This occurs because the brain continues to receive messages from nerves that
originally carried impulses from the missing limb.

Symptoms

In addition to phantom limb pain, people can experience any sensation that the limb could have
experienced prior to the amputation. The pain occurs sporadically and can be aggravated by
stress, anxiety and changes in the weather. Phantom limb syndrome may cause sensations of:

  • Shooting, stabbing, piercing or burning pain
  • The limb still being attached and functioning normally
  • Numbness, tickling or cramping
  • Heat and cold
  • Itching

Treatment of Phantom Limb Pain

Today, phantom limb syndrome can be treated in a variety of ways.

  • Meditation and relaxation techniques
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Exercise
  • Mirror box
  • Electrical nerve stimulation
  • Heat application
  • Physical therapy
  • Medications

For some people, phantom pain may get better over time without any treatment, while for others phantom limb pain may be quite challenging. You and your doctor can work together to treat phantom limb pain effectively with medication or other therapies. Call or schedule an appointment today to talk with our experienced pain specialists.