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Phantom Limb Pain

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Are You Feeling Pain from an Amputated Limb?

Losing a limb is one of the biggest changes a body can go through, and it takes time before the brain and body can fully adjust to the lost. If you are feeling pain in the area where an amputated limb used to be, you are experiencing a phenomenon known as phantom limb pain.

Phantom limb is a common occurrence in people who have lost a limb. Patients have reported that they can still feel like their limb is there, and sometimes even report tingling sensations. Normally, phantom limb is not painful, but some patients have experienced tinging, aching stabbing, cramping, and burning sensations. In most cases, phantom limb will go away on its own after a few weeks, but some people can experience it for much longer.

How Can Phantom Limb Pain Be Treated?

While it may feel like the pain is coming from the amputated limb, this is obviously not possible. Though we still don’t know the exact cause of phantom limb pain, research as suggested that the brain and nerves are still adjusting to the change and need to be adjusted before they stop sending pain signals to the area near the amputated limb.

Treatments for phantom limb pain include:
  • Physical therapy
  • Antidepressants
  • Pain medications
  • Mirror therapy- wherein mirrors are used to trick your brain into thinking you still have both limbs
  • Nerve stimulation
  • Interventional injections

The longer phantom limb sensations last, the more difficult they are to treat. It is best to start seeking pain management soon after you start feeling them as this can reduce the chance of long-term phantom limb pain. The pain specialists at Pain Specialists of America have treated numerous patients experiencing phantom limb pain. Call (855) 876-7246 or contact us online to learn more.

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