What Is Phantom Pain?
If you have lost a limb or another part of your body, you may feel painful sensations that seem to be coming from the missing part. This phenomenon is called “phantom pain.” It is common among amputees. It can become a chronic problem for some people. This pain most often occurs soon after surgery. It can feel like a variety of things, such as burning, twisting, itching or pressure.
People are often reluctant to tell anyone that they are experiencing phantom pain, for fear that they will sound “crazy”. However, it is important to report these pains to us at Summit Healthcare in Show Low, Arizona, as soon as you begin to experience them so treatment can be started.
Symptoms Of Phantom Pain
Symptoms of phantom pain often begin shortly after your amputation. You may feel stabbing, burning sensations. You may feel as if the missing part is being squeezed. It may throb. You may feel like the missing part is being bent into a painful position. These sensations may come and go, or you may feel them all the time. Some of the sensations may include the following:
- Heat or cold
- Clothing or jewelry against the skin
- Tingling or itching
What Causes Phantom Pain?
Phantom pain is believed to be linked to your brain and nervous system. When a piece of your body is removed, your brain no longer receives sensory signals from that area. Your confused brain may remap itself. It may begin to associate the missing part with another part of your body. This leads to painful sensations. Damaged nerves near the site of your amputation may also play a role in your pain.
Treating Phantom Pain
Treatment options may include are medications, nerve stimulation, and other therapeutic techniques. Dr. Trujillo can create a care plan that is right for your needs. Pain treatments may include:
- Application of heat
- Electrical nerve stimulation
- Physical therapy
- Medications ( Such as pain relievers, antidepressants, and beta-blockers)