PHANTOM LIMB PAIN
Phantom limb pain are sensations that are felt in an area of where an amputated limb used to be. It is a common condition for patients who had an amputation. Almost every patient who has gone through amputation in the first six months after the operation has experienced some form of phantom limb pain.
After the amputation even though the limb is not there the nerve endings on the amputated site continue to send pain signals to the brain that make the brain thinks the limb is still there. The brain memory of pain is retained and is interpreted as pain regardless of the signals from the injured nerves.
For some people these sensations can remain and eventually become chronic pain problem.
The symptoms of phantom limb pain are unique to each patient. The pain can change and evolve over time. Most commonly reported symptoms are:
- Pins and needles
- Electric shock
There are no specific drugs that can help relieve phantom limb pain. Some medications, opioids, antidepressants and anticonvulsants can help altering the pain chemicals in the brain and soothe nerve pain.
Other treatments include:
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy
- Increased physical activity
- Meditation and visualization
- Brain and spinal cord stimulation
- Surgery (to help correct the tissue and relieve the pain sensations)