Phantom Limb Pain

FAQ’s on Phantom Limb Pain Treatment in Chicago

 

WHAT IS PHANTOM LIMB PAIN?

After the amputation of a limb, a patient may still experience pain, ranging from mild to severe, in the area where the limb was. This condition is referred to as Phantom Limb Pain. Generally, the condition lasts a few weeks or months, at most, and the pain recedes or completely disappears after that. In case the pain doesn’t go away in six months, treatment becomes difficult.

WHAT CAUSES PHANTOM LIMB PAIN?

The nerve endings from the limb which has been amputated remain in place. The brain receives pain signals from these nerve endings. This leads the brain to think that the limb is as normal. In some cases, the pain is caused by brain memory, where the brain interprets the memory as pain and this causes actual physical pain. In this case, the nerve endings may not send the signals to the brain. The brain acts on its own.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PHANTOM LIMB PAIN?

The patient’s mind continues to think the limb is there. Therefore, any sensation which that limb had experienced before being amputated can be recalled by the brain and this may cause pain as well as cramping and tingling in that area.

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS FOR PHANTOM LIMB PAIN?

Generally, Phantom Limb Pain is difficult to treat. The Chicago pain doctor will assess the intensity of the pain and then decide on a course of treatments. The treatments commonly prescribed include physical therapy, massage, and heat application to the area where the amputation was made.

Patients may also undergo nerve blocks and biofeedback, which is used for reducing the tension in the muscles in the affected region. Neuro-stimulation may also be suggested.

 

Mirror therapy is an easy, new treatment that shown effectiveness for pain relief. TENS units may also be an initial, simple treatment as well.

 

Surgery is recommended as a viable treatment if a nerve in the affected area has been entangled by scar tissue. The scar tissue is removed during the procedure.