Phantom limb pain (PLP) is referred as ongoing painful sensations that seem to be coming from the part of the limb that is no longer exists. The limb is gone, but the pain is real. And yes, it’s coming right from the brain! No brain, no pain…
The pain shoots up; most commonly, right after you’ve undergone the surgery procedure. It can feel like a variety of things, such as burning, twisting, itching or pressure. It is frequently felt in fingers or toes. It is believed that nearly 80% of the amputee population worldwide has experienced this kind of pain.
“The duration of this pain varies from person to person”, says Dr. Zaki. Wondering who this personality is? Dr Zaki Anwar is very experienced in interventional treatments. He is a world renowned Pain Medicine Physician and has been practicing ways to cure pain leading to serious problems for the past several years and has achieved remarkable results. Get his expert opinion by just making a phone call at 815-464-7212.
People are often reluctant to tell anyone that they are experiencing PLP or phantom limb sensations, for fear that they will be considered “crazy.” However, it is important to report these pains as soon as you begin to experience them so treatment can be started.
Causes of Phantom Limb Pain
- Urination or defecation
- Sexual intercourse
- Cigarette smoking
- Changes in barometric pressure
- Herpes zoster
- Exposure to cold
If you perceive any particular thing triggering an episode of PLP for you, let your healthcare provider know. Some triggers can be avoided – for example, you can prevent constipation or stop smoking. For other triggers, you will just have to understand and treat accordingly. You will not be able to prevent the barometric pressure from changing, but you will be able to understand that your PLP might be more severe on days with big shifts in the weather!
Treating Phantom Limb Pain
Medications for Phantom Limb Pain
There are many different categories of medications that can decrease your pain. Each of them is thought to work on different kinds of pain sensations. The categories of some of the medications you might be given include:
- Acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Opioids (narcotic pain medications)
- Muscle relaxants
Non-Medication Treatments for Phantom Limb Pain
Alternative/complementary therapies can be helpful for the reduction of PLP. These include:
- Massage of the residual limb
- Use of a shinker
- Repositioning of the residual limb by propping on a pillow or cushion
- Mirror box therapy
- TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
- Virtual reality therapy