After you have amputated the part of your leg or arm, there’s a chance you could feel pain in the limb that’s no longer there. This is known as phantom limb pain. Although it is most common in arms and legs but some people will feel it when they have their other body parts removed, such as a breast.
Treating phantom pain
Medications of several different categories works as phantom pain treatment. They are using in combination with non-medication treatments and are most effective.
Medicines for phantom limb pain
There are many different categories of medications for phantom pain treatment that can decrease your pain. Each of them is believed t to work on different kinds of pain sensations. The categories of some of the medicines you might be given include;
- Acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Opioids (narcotic pain medications) may ease phantom limb pain for some people, but it does not work for everyone. Tell your doctor if you have a history of substance abuse before you take opioids drugs as your phantom pain treatment.
- Antidepressants can ease nerve pain by changing chemicals in your body that send pain signals
- Anticonvulsants can help with nerve pain.
- Muscle relaxants
Non-medicinal treatments for phantom limb pain
Some alternatives or complementary therapies which can be used as phantom pain treatment include the following;
- Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese method in which tiny needles are placed in specific areas of the body to increase energy flow and create an energy balance
- Massage of the residual limb can relax muscles and increase blood flow to the residual limb.
- Use of a silver shrinker sock helps eliminating phantom pain. Silver is a natural antibiotic and silver shields the residual limb from the effects of weather fluctuations.
- Repositioning of the residual limb by strengthen on a pillow or cushion
- Mirror box therapy tricks the brain into believing that the amputated limb is whole and healthy.
- Biofeedback is a phantom pain treatment process which knows how to control one’s physiology. There are 2 beneficial physiological processes for people with limb loss. One is electromyogram (EMG) biofeedback which control muscle tension or tightness in the residual limb. Other is Temperature biofeedback which raises the heat in one’s extremities by increasing blood flow through deep relaxation.
- TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) provides a low electrical current through pads that are attached to the surface of the skin.
- In virtual reality therapy the residual limb is projected to be intact without injury and progressive muscle relaxation exercises are performed.
Zaki Anwar MD is an Anesthesiologist and Interventional Pain Management Specialist. He has great expertise for the diagnosis and treatment of back pain, headaches, migraines, neck pain, sciatica pain and various pain conditions. His center has offering various treatment options including stem cell therapy, amniotic fluid injection and much more.
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