An Overview To Phantom Limb Pain!

Describing in a simple statement, Phantom pain is said to be a condition in which the limb is not there but the pain seems to be coming from that part only. This chronic pain often occurs after a surgery and brings with itself the sensations of burning, twisting, itching or pressure. It has also been observed that 80 percent of the people who have undergone amputation experience this kind of pain.

The Cause Behind the Pain

Phantom pain is because of mixed signals from the brain or the spinal cord. As compared to the normal pain in which the limb is affected, this pain is quite irritating giving the patient the sensations from the limb that is no longer there.

The conditions that can trigger phantom limb pain include:

  • Angina
  • Changes in barometric pressure
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Exposure to cold
  • Herpes zoster
  • Touch
  • Urination or defecation

Often people think that phantom limb pain is not some real kind of pain and if they express their feeling to others then they will be called as crazy. However, it is important to visit a pain management specialist in order to obtain the right treatment.

What Medications can be Opted

The medications that can be given in phantom limb pain are mentioned below. These work differently for different kinds of pain sensations.

  • Acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressants
  • Beta-blockers
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Opioids (narcotic pain medications)

Some of the above medications produce best results when taken in combination with other medications prescribed by the doctor.

Are there any Complementary Therapies for Phantom Pain?

Yes, there are some non-medication treatments that are very helpful in the alleviation of phantom limb pain. These include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Biofeedback
  • Imagery
  • Massage of the residual limb
  • Mirror box therapy
  • Repositioning of the residual limb by propping on a pillow or cushion
  • TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
  • Use of a shrinker
  • Virtual reality therapy

If you or any of your loved one is suffering from some any phantom pain or abdominal pain any other body pain, get a professional advice from Dr. Zaki Anwar by placing an appointment at (815) 464-7212). He is an expert anesthesiologist and certified Pain Management Specialist who has been practicing pain relief techniques for the past several years with effective results.