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Pain Management

How to Manage Phantom Pain After Amputation?

Wayne Whitehurst January 25, 2022

Losing a limb can be a difficult experience both physically and emotionally. One of the most common complications after amputation is phantom pain. This is pain that is felt in the missing limb, even though it is no longer there. Phantom pain can be quite debilitating and can significantly reduce the quality of life. In this article, we will discuss how to manage phantom pain after amputation.

What Causes Phantom Pain After Amputation?

Earlier, people used to wonder whether phantom pain was a real medical condition. However, it is not entirely clear what causes phantom pain after amputation. However, it is believed that the sensation of pain is caused by the brain’s attempt to rewire itself after surgery. The brain may mistakenly send messages to the missing limb, resulting in pain perception. Additionally, scar tissue and other surgical trauma can contribute to phantom pain.

Common Signs of Phantom Pain in Amputees

There are several common symptoms of phantom pain in amputees. These may include:

  • A burning, tingling, or shooting sensation in the missing limb.
  • The feeling that the limb is being twisted or pulled.
  • A pins-and-needles sensation.
  • Pain increases when the stump is touched.
  • A sense of cramping in the missing limb.

How Can One Manage Phantom Pain After Amputation?

There are several ways that one can manage phantom pain after amputation. Some of the most common strategies include:

  1. Taking medication: Pain medications, such as opioids or NSAIDs can effectively reduce phantom pain.
  1. Using nerve stimulation: Electrical stimulation of the nerves near the amputation site can help to block pain signals.
  1. Physical therapy: targeted exercises can help to reduce muscle spasms and improve function. This can help to reduce pain.
  1. Psychotherapy: therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy can be beneficial in managing phantom pain. This type of therapy can help to change the way you think about and cope with your pain.
  1. Other treatments: Several treatments may be effective for phantom pain, including nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulation, and acupuncture.

When Should You See a Doctor?

If you are experiencing significant phantom pain after amputation, it is important to seek medical help for phantom pain in Chicago. Pain that is interfering with your ability to function or that is causing significant distress should be evaluated by a doctor. There may be other treatments available that can help to reduce your pain.

To Conclude

Losing a limb can be a difficult experience. However, with the help of doctors and other healthcare professionals, it is possible to manage phantom pain after amputation. So if you are experiencing significant phantom pain, don’t hesitate to seek medical help.