Phantom Pain is a pain or may be a perception of pain that an individual experience in an organ that is not physically a part of body now. Previously doctors used to believe that this post-amputation phenomenon was a psychological problem but now they recognize that these real sensations originate in the spinal cord and brain.
Most commonly phantom pain occurs at the site of amputated limb. Most people report that sometimes it feels as if the amputated limb is still there. Sensations are also recorded following the amputation of an arm or a leg, following the removal of a breast, tooth, or an internal organ. The phantom pain sensation varies from individual to individual.
Symptoms of phantom pain:
Phantom pain includes the following characteristics;
- Pain that comes and goes or can continue
- Usual onset is within the first week after amputation
- Pins and needles
- Feeling that the amputated organ is moving
Reasons of phantom pain:
- Damaged nerve endings
- scar tissue at the site of the amputation
- Physical or mental memory of pre-amputation pain in the affected area
Although the exact cause of phantom pain is unclear but it is clear that it appears to come from the spinal cord and brain. Portions of the brain that had been neurologically connected to the nerves of the amputated organ show activity even after amputation and it results in phantom pain.
- Electrical nerve stimulation
- Scar tissue removal
- Physical therapy
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine based method to treat phantom pain. And it is done by putting very thin needles into the skin at certain points on the body to produce energy flow along the body’s meridians.
Massage therapy is beneficial in phantom pain as it reduced swelling, increased circulation, less muscle stiffness, reduced scar tissue tightness, reduced spasms, increased muscle length, less pain and decreased anxiety and stress
In electrical current procedure, current is delivered through small pieces of material that conduct electricity which are placed on the skin near the source of pain. The electrical stimulation of the nerve is then help the body to produce natural painkillers called endorphins, which may block the perception of pain.
Surgery to remove scar tissue which is entangling a nerve can also work for phantom pain.
Physical therapy improves mobility to relieve pain and to restore physical fitness and overall fitness. Exercise, manual therapy, education, and modalities such as heat, cold, and electrical stimulation work toward these goals.
Zaki Anwar MD is an Anesthesiologist and Interventional Pain Management Specialist. He is doing great job for the diagnosis and treatment of back pain, headaches, migraines, neck pain, sciatica pain and various pain conditions. Phantom pain is also treating here successfully.
For further queries about phantom pain and how to treat it, call on Zaki Anwar medical center at 815.412.6166