Phantom Limb Pain

Phantom Limb Pain

Phantom Limb

Phantom limb pain is a complex condition that causes pain or discomfort in a limb, organ or body part that is no longer physically present on or within the body. Although phantom limb pain is common in patients who’ve had an arm or leg removed, this post-amputation phenomenon may also occur in those who’ve had other body parts removed, including the ears, breasts, genitalia, tongue and eyes.

Phantom Limb Pain

Phantom Limb Pain Causes

For years, it was believed this unique anomaly was purely psychological. Now, research indicates pain from phantom limb pain develops in the spinal cord and brain. The exact cause of the condition, however, remains unclear. Possible causes of phantom limb pain may include:

  • The misfiring of signals within the spinal cord and brain, causing pain to areas surrounding the missing limb.
  • Damaged nerves or scar tissue at the site of amputation causing pain.
  • Emotional stress or prolonged pressure from a prosthetic.
Phantom Limb Pain

Phantom Limb Pain Symptoms

Phantom limb pain could get better over time for some individuals, but many times the pain becomes chronic. Symptoms of phantom limb pain generally include:

  • Stabbing, aching or burning pain near the area of a limb that no longer exists
  • Pain that develops within days of an amputation or traumatic injury
  • Pain that affects limbs farthest from body (feeling pain in the foot of an amputated leg)
Phantom Limb Pain

Phantom Limb Pain Treatments

Patients may benefit from a combination behavioral health therapies and interventional pain therapies, some of which include:

The first step in treating your pain is to get an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms. Based on your diagnosis, you and your doctor can determine your best treatment options. At The Pain Center, we offer traditional and state-of-the-art therapies to treat your pain and help get you back to your normal activities.

Learn about your treatment options

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